Know Your Leader: Lopang Rothman ANC Dr Kenneth Kaunda Regional Secretary and Ex-Officio member of the PEC

The ethnic wars that were incited by the apartheid regime in Tigane township near Klerksdorp during the 1980s led Lopang Rothman to join the Mass Democratic Movements (MDM) under an organisation known as the “Big 14”.
He was only 12 years old at the time, but he told Mogolodi that he felt that it was important to learn how to protect the community he was living in so that their neighbourhoods
could be safer.
“It was during the 1986 state of emergency that I felt the urge to join the struggle. We were fighting the oppressive apartheid government because Africans did not have equal opportunities like our white counterparts. There were also brutal ethnic wars that marred our communities where Africans were killing each other as part of the divide and conquer strategy by the whites. We felt as the youth of the country that we had to get up and fight for what we believed in as we wanted better living conditions for future generations,” Rothman said in an interview with Mogolodi this week. 
From 1990 to 1993, Rothman joined the Self Defence Units (SDU), where members were trained in the country by Umkhonto we Sizwe soldiers that had received their training in foreign countries. He formally became an ANC member in 1992 after the unbanning of the party.
“I joined the ANC in 1992 and became Branch Secretary of Ward 2 in Tigane. In 1996 I was elected Branch Chairperson of the very same ward,” he said. 
Rothman rose through the structures and was elected to the Regional Executive Committee (REC) of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in what was formerly known as the Southern Region - now known as the Dr Kenneth Kaunda Region.
From 1997 until 1999, Rothman served in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). In 2004 he became Regional Chairperson of the National, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) in the Angie Olifant Region. In 2007 he was elected Branch Chairperson of the Thabo Sithole Branch of the South African Communist Party (SACP). He held this position until 2009.
Rothman moved from Tigane to Jourberton where he was elected as a councillor for Ward 16.  He was also elected as Branch Chairperson for the very same ward until 2011.
“In 2011 I was re-elected as a councillor but because of municipal demarcation Ward 16 was changed to Ward 7. During this period I became a Member of the Mayoral Council (MMC) at the Matlosana Local Municipality under Corporate Services where we performed various human resources related functions,” he said. 
Rothman became Regional Secretary of the ANC in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District in 2013 and still holds the position. He serves on the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of ANC Bokone Bophirima by virtue of being Regional Secretary. There he serves on the Organisational Renewal Committee, where he said leaders deal with restoring the dignity of the organisation and also recruiting new members.
“I have learnt some important life skills and lessons in the time that I’ve been part of the movement. These include public speaking, Ubuntu, mutual respect and selflessness. The ANC has contributed greatly to my personal development as I have managed to study certificate courses in Municipal Finance and Public Management Finance while I was a councillor. I am what I am today because of the ANC,” said Rothman.
He has also served in the public sector at the provincial Department of Health’s Laundry Services. Rothman told Mogolodi that unity is very important if the ANC is to lead the country going forward. 
“It is important for cadres to always remain united and respect the internal processes of the movement even though they have certain issues they are not satisfied with. It is equally important to use social media positively and not portray the organisation negatively on various platforms,” he said.
Rothman said he is positive that ANC Bokone Bophirima and the Dr Kenneth Kaunda region he comes from support the outcomes of the ANC’s December National Conference and are fully the newly elected President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the National Executive Committee (NEC) collective he leads. He added that the ANC is his party of choice because its policies are aimed at improving the lives of ordinary South Africans.