Senior ANC MPs are embroiled in a catfight over a top parliamentary position‚ with Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise being described as a bully.
Details of spat has been is revealed in a complaint to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete‚ filed by ANC MP in the NCOP Dr Hunadi Mateme who until last week was Chief Whip in the chamber.
In the complaint titled “Harrasment‚ bullying and vilification by Cde Thandi Modise‚” which TimesLIVE has seen‚ Mateme tells her party bosses that Modise has been “belittling and haranguing” her for the last two years‚ claiming she is incompetent – without any basis.
Mateme claimed in the complaint that Modise’s “relentless onslaught” against her was also extended to other senior ANC figures in the NCOP‚ such as Raserititi Tau who is Modise’s deputy.
“Her attitude and demeanour towards me and other ANC deployees‚ particularly ANC whips – whom she constantly refers to as ‘nothing but useless mantjingelanes (night watchmen) – has made her relationship with the ANC whips toxic.
“In addition…Cde Raseriti Tau is continuously at the receiving end of a relentless onslaught of harsh and brutal denigrations of his character‚” says Mateme in her complaint.
Parliamentary insiders indicated earlier this year that all was not well between Modise and Mateme‚ claiming already in February this year that the Modise wanted Mateme removed as NCOP Chief Whip.
They claimed at the time that Modise did not regard Mateme as suitable for the job and had even lobbied opposition MPs to support her moves to oust her. In her written complaint‚ Mateme repeats this allegation.
The NCOP Chief Whip is appointed and dismissed by a resolution of the house
But Modise‚ speaking through parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo‚ has denied plotting the downfall of Mateme‚ arguing that the rules do not give her such powers.
“The Chairperson (Modise) is disappointed by the allegations‚ particularly in light of the commonly known fact that the former Chief Whip was not removed by anyone but voluntarily resigned.
“The Chairperson and the Chief Whip play two distinct but complementary roles‚ and there exists no space for one to bully or harass the other‚” said Mothapo.
“As two women leaders of the House‚ both the Chairperson and the former Chief Whip have supported and complemented one another in discharging their functions.
“This is the same working relationship the chairperson is enjoying with the current Chief Whip.
“Such claims can only be an invention of someone with no basic understanding of the workings of the House.”
Tau said there was no way Modise could refer to him as a ‘mantjingelane’‚ given their long standing relationship of personal and political mentorship.
He said he regarded Modise as his mentor who would never insult him.
“In the context of our political history‚ matjengelane is racist and demeaning‚ and it is inconceivable that Ausi (My big sister) Thandi‚ my lifelong political mentor‚ mother and someone I’ve known for many years‚ would ever refer to me in that manner.
“She and I enjoy mutual respect and an excellent working relationship‚ hence I find such rumours frankly dubious and bizarre.”
Approached for comment‚ Mateme said: “No‚ I don’t discuss those matters with the media.”