A PLOT to defer the much-anticipated Highlanders elections, set for the first week of February, and bring on board individuals into the executive committee after the expiry of the current leadership’s tenure has been unearthed, B-Metro Sport can reveal.
Chairman Kenneth Mhlophe’s tenure of office together with that of secretary-general Israel Moyo and committee member Wisdom Mabhena comes to end on election day – 7 February.
Treasurer Donald Ndebele and vice-chairman Modern Ngwenya still have another year in office.
In separate briefings with B-Metro Sport, two sources told of a plot by a ‘camp’ opposed to the leadership of Mhlophe to push for the deferring of the elections under the guise that the event could turn out to be Covid-19 spreader.
The ‘plotters’ are pushing to co-opt their preferred individuals for the vacant positions and defer the elections indefinitely, according to a well-placed source.
“The idea is to hide behind the Covid-19 pandemic and push for a postponement of the elections. The guys behind the plot do not want elections to be held because they fear that their preferred candidates, especially for the position of chairman, face humiliating defeats so instead they are pushing for the elections to be deferred.
“In that event, they will be push to co-opt their preferred candidates to fill the vacancies and run the club until such a time when the situation is right to hold elections,” said the source.
Campaigning is already in full swing for the 7 February elections. Johnfat Sibanda is challenging Mhlophe, while Morgan Dube is gunning to wrestle the secretary-general post from Moyo.
First time candidates Bheka Sibanda and Mgcini Mafu will go head-to-head for the position of committee member.
“The Highlanders constitution is clear that the mandate of those running for re-election expires on the day of elections, in this case on 7 February, which means their tenure cannot be extended in the absence of an election.
“This is what these guys are banking on; once the elections are deferred for whatever reason then three individuals must be co-opted to lead the club in the interim,” said another source.
He added that in the past elections about 300 members usually converged at the Highlanders clubhouse to vote.
“This time around that might not be possible seeing that a smaller number of people is allowed to converge in one place in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But what I know is that the current leadership is working on a contingency plan for the authorities to allow about 30 people to vote at a time under strict Covid-19 protocols.
“That way club members will vote in groups of 30 at a time,” he said.
Club chairman Mhlophe said he is unaware of the plot to defer elections but called on aspiring candidates not to resort to using dirty tricks to find their way into the power corridors of Highlanders.
“It’s election season and every candidate, including myself, must campaign in a manner that preserves the honour and culture of the club. Underhand dealings will not benefit the club in any way,” said Mhlophe.