Cleopus Maunye, a former secretary-general for the Bushbuckridge Residents Association has been fired following his alleged negotiation with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
The association resolved to recall its only member of the legislature, Cleopus Maunye, on February 22 after they discovered he was too keen to negotiate with the ruling ANC.
At a special conference, the party’s committee resolved to fire him as a parliamentarian and as the party’s secretary-general following a vote of no confidence against him.
According to emerging reports, Cleopus Maunye had been negotiating with the ANC on how to dissolve the party and have its leaders incorporated into the ANC.
The negotiation, which was allegedly facilitated by IT mogul, Robert Gumede, was geared towards incorporating Bushbuckridge top leaders into ANC’s branch executive committees, the Bohlabela regional executive committee and the provincial executive committee.
Maunye told news media that Mpumalanga premier, David Mabuza, had been making moves to negotiate with them since 2011, but all his efforts have not been able to yield fruit.
Maunye also confirmed that the meeting and negotiations was part of the ruling party’s renewed effort to regain its political strength after the 2016 local election shows that the party was losing its hold of the country.
The moves also followed Mabuza’s campaign to unite the ANC – a comment argued to be his subtle attempt at finding something that would increase his chances to be elected ANC deputy president in December.
The negotiations were re-started in earnest last year after a mandate from the party’s executive, said Maunye who, alongside the party president, Delta Mokoena, met at Gumede’s Johannesburg home.
“After a week or two, Mokoena started to (drag his feet) about the negotiations. The Bushbuckridge Residents Association executive met and I was recalled from the legislature because they felt that I was being biased to the ANC. I raised principled issues and we didn’t find each other,” Maunye said.
Maunye said that Mokoena had accused him of buying magistrates to sentence him so that he could sell the Bushbuckridge Residents Association to the ANC.
“For me it has always been about development for all the people of Bushbuckridge. I couldn’t influence magistrates. I’ve been the one assisting Mokoena on all the vigilante crimes he was accused of,” Maunye defended himself.
Bushbuckridge party was formed in 2011 by disgruntled ANC members who were expelled in 2010 following tribal tensions between the Tsonga and the Mapulana.
The Mapulanas complained that government services were being provided in predominantly Tsonga wards because ANC leadership positions in the Bohlabela region were also given to this group.
The association won one ward in the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality. It won a legislature seat in 2014 and then five wards in Bushbuckridge after the 2016 local government elections.
Meanwhile, the party’s acting secretary, Johannes Ndlovu, said Maunye did not listen when he was ordered to stop negotiating with the ANC.
“The ANC wanted us to dissolve the Bushbuckridge Residents Association. Mokoena said he needed to consult our members first. The secretary was ordered to stop negotiating but he continued and we called a special conference to remove him,” Ndlovu said, confirming Maunye’s firing.
Maunye on the other hand, said he was not sure what the future held for him, but said he would continue being an activist for development in Bushbuckridge.