Speaking shortly after being elected ANC Mpumalanga chairperson, soft-spoken Mandla Ndlovu revealed he was currently unemployed.
“I am unemployed and looking for a job,” said Ndlovu, who joked that he studied communications and would not mind working at News24.
While Ndlovu joked, other ANC leaders in the province were looking to him to see whether there would be a reshuffle of the ANC-led executive and whether he would be pushed to take over as premier.
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It is tradition in the ANC for the provincial chairperson to occupy a top role in government.
Ndlovu previously worked as a teacher, and at least two ANC delegates who attended the provincial conference talked about his passion for education and seeing young people better their lives.
He left teaching when he became actively involved in politics and previously held the position of provincial secretary, the only position in the top five that comes with a salary.
“The secretary of the province is the only full-time employee of the ANC and gets a salary. Some of us need to use our qualifications to seek employment opportunities.”
Ndlovu vowed to work with his newly elected administration to, among other things, better the lives of Mpumalanga residents, especially by trying to create more job opportunities.
Mpumalanga ANC Youth League spokesperson Zwelo Masilela echoed Ndlovu’s sentiments. Masilela said that while it was a pity that no young people were represented in the top five in the province, the elected leaders ought to prioritise creating job opportunities for young people.
Masilela said: “The most that the new administration [can do] is to ensure that young people are employed, economic freedom is attained. Young people want a better life. They can’t be enticed by anything except a better life.”
South Africa’s unemployment rate had maintained its dismal upward trajectory, as Stats SA recently revealed that it had climbed to 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021, from 34.9% in the third quarter.
Ndlovu’s faction, dubbed Focus, made a clean sweep as it won all five positions contested at the ANC’s elective conference in Mpumalanga.
Speedy Mashilo was elected deputy chairperson, defeating David Nhlabathi, while Muzi Chirwa was elected secretary.
Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, the only woman nominated to contest for a top five position, was elected provincial deputy secretary, having garnered more votes than Charles Ndlovu.
The ANC in the province also elected Mandla Msibi as treasurer despite him facing murder and attempted murder charges, with his trial set to start later this year.
The election of the Focus faction increased President Cyril Ramaphosa’s chances of winning a second term as Ndlovu had endorsed him in March.
The faction’s election also comes as a boost for ANC national executive committee member Ronald Lamola’s quest to become deputy president.
Lamola was at the Mpumalanga elective conference and was among the first people to congratulate Ndlovu on his win.
Ndlovu effectively takes over from David Mabuza, who left the province in 2017 when he was elected ANC deputy president.