'Supra Mahumapelo's REC' set for battle as it rejects decision to disband it

The ANC's Dr Kenneth Kaunda region is preparing to fight the North West interim provincial committee (IPC) and its mother body in a bid to retain its legitimacy.

The regional executive committee (REC), which insists it was elected fairly and in line with the party's constitution, has written two legal letters to the IPC questioning rumours that it might be disbanded.

This in spite of communication from the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) to the regional chairperson and secretary that it has not been recognised.

In the first letter signed by regional secretary Lopang Rothman, which News24 has seen, the REC affirmed its legitimacy, which it claimed was confirmed by the party's secretary-general, Ace Magashule.

"We have never ceased to exist as the REC despite the confusion about our existence as we have been consistently implementing our programme of action as adopted by the REC," said Rothman in the letter.

He claimed no decision to disband the region had ever been taken, let alone written communication to the region indicating such.

The region held its conference just a month before the ANC disbanded former provincial chairperson Supra Mahumapelo's provincial committee in August last year.

Two months prior to that, Mahumapelo stepped down as premier, going on "early retirement" amid violent protests in the province calling for him to step down.

READ: Supra warns detractors as he finally bows out as premier

"To put it bluntly, we are being targeted because we are seen as Supra's REC. We received our blessing from his PEC," Rothman told News24.

In the letter, he said, the regional body would "protest" any move to disband it, arguing that this would contravene both the ANC and the country's constitutions.

"We can't believe we are still being targeted. It's very painful, there is a lull in terms of organisational work in our region," Rothman told News24.

The REC is seeking confirmation of whether the IPC indeed tends to disband its region, reasons behind the decision and why it was not granted an opportunity to argue against this.

But ANC acting national spokesperson and NEC member Dakota Legoete said a report into the regional conference found that it was not properly constituted.

"We do not recognise that structure."

Legoete said all four regions in the North West had lapsed mandates and had to hold fresh conferences ahead of a much-anticipated provincial conference to elect a new PEC.

The North West has seen bruising political battles, which have also spilled into its government space, costing residents access to quality healthcare and basic services.

ALSO READ: North West ANC regions fight back: 'We are battling an arrogant ANC leadership'

The ANC appointed the IPC in August after the provincial task team's term of office lapsed. The IPC has been tasked with unifying and stabilising the organisation in the province.

It also has to prepare the province for a provincial conference where new leadership can be elected.

Legoete told News24 the ANC's deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, had communicated the NEC's decision to the regional leaders, a claim Rothman has denied.

"Jessie lied, there is no such a decision from the NEC," he told News24.

"The DSG [deputy secretary general] came and did not address branches, only myself and the chair. She told us there was an NEC decision around this matter. Jessie lied, there is no such decision," continued Rothman.

Duarte, when asked for comment, said it was the position of the NEC.

"I stand by the decision of the NEC which is not a lie," she added.

In February, Mahumapelo, who is now an MP, successfully challenged an NEC decision to disband his PEC, along with an enforcement order that he return to the helm of the party in the North West but settled following the intervention of party president Cyril Ramaphosa to broker peace between two warring factions.

Rothman said the REC would consider following the former provincial chairperson's move and fight this battle in the courts, if needs be.