ANC spindoctor heads to Parliament

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mthembu TWITTER ANC heavyweight Jackson Mthembu arrives at the party's Siyabonga celebration party at the Library Gardens park. Photo: @MyANC_

Parliament - National ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu is one of 249 party members who will serve in Parliament, according to a final list released by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) on Friday.

“I am honoured to be going back to Parliament because that is where the ANC has decided to deploy me,” said Mthembu.

“I am very humbled. It is an overwhelming mandate and I am not taking the mandate for granted. I am going there to do my utmost best to improve whatever area or portfolio I am deployed to.”

He had given his list of strengths and preferences to the African National Congress and respected its final decision on where to place him.

Mthembu, 56, said he served in Parliament before being called to Luthuli House. He also served as Speaker in the Mpumalanga legislature and as a spokesman for former president Nelson Mandela.

“To be appointed national spokesman out of more than a million members is something that I think I will also include in a book one day. The trust and confidence that the organisation had in me makes me feel like crying when I think of it.”

He was often awake at 5am to travel to television or radio studios and could not count the number of times he had been woken in the middle of the night by journalists.

Mthembu said that while he had enjoyed and appreciated his five-year term as spokesman, it had been “strenuous” and was not something he would want to do forever.

“At least I won't be receiving calls from all of you at all hours of the morning,” he said. “Now I will not speak unless I am asked to.”

Mthembu said he believed he had not disappointed the ANC and he thanked its top officials for their support over the years.

He said he had not had much time for hobbies and his loved ones while in his “24/7” position.

“I can go back to church. I am also a father who is proud of his kids and one will be able now to visit them,” he said of his three children attending universities across the country.

“In most instances (in the past), they will see me on TV or hear me on radio or some of them are my followers on Facebook.”

The top 10 names on the ANC's Parliament list are: Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Malusi Gigaba, Naledi Pandor, Jeff Radebe, Fikile Mbalula, Blade Nzimande, Bathabile Dlamini, Lindiwe Sisulu, and Collins Chabane.

Former communications minister Dina Pule was still at 70 on the list, even though she had declined her nomination by the ANC.

Mthembu did not know why Pule's name was still on the list, but suggested it might be an error on the part of the IEC.

“We as the ANC have acknowledged her withdrawal.”

Pule was recalled from her position last year after the Public Protector’s report into allegations of corruption and a potential conflict of interest against her.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s probe involved Pule’s appointment of service providers to do event management for the ICT Indaba in Cape Town.

Madonsela found Pule unlawfully extended her spousal benefits to her romantic partner Phosane Mngqibisa. She found that despite numerous denials, Pule told her department Mngqibisa was her official companion.

Madonsela said at a meeting, Pule told her Mngqibisa was not her spouse, as he was married to someone else under civil law.

ANCYL convener Mzwandile Masina was 109 on the final list.

Masina was quoted at the end of last year as saying National Union of Metalworkers of SA general secretary Irvin Jim could “f*ck off” because he had a personal vendetta against Zuma and was an embarrassment.

The ANC Youth League later sent out a release saying he had been misquoted and had actually said “fork off”, an English term which meant “to divide in branches, go separate ways”.

In April, he uploaded a photo of former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge with a caption criticising them for campaigning for spoilt votes.

The caption read: “The ANC gave these two people an opportunity to be known. They mess up. One h*e fired by Pres Mbeki and the other resign in protest after Pres a Mbeki was recalled. Now they miss television do much that they convening some lousy media conference to discourage pple from voting our movement. Pple died for freedom don't be fooled by these two loosens (sic).”

He later deleted the caption and posted an apology. “My humble apologies I felt embarrassed as I read again after I got a call from one cadre who wanted to check what I wrote. I don't insult pple when we differ hence correcting the words that suggested was saying something else “who” to that near horrible word...,” he wrote.

Both Andile Lungisa and Pule Mabe, who face fraud charges, were on the ANC's original candidate list at 147 and 53 respectively. In the final list, only Mabe made the cut.

Mthembu said he could not comment on their placements, but had full trust in the decisions of list committee chairman and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

Mantashe said in March that the ANC had vetted all its candidates and those not convicted of a crime, but still facing charges in court could still be on the list.

“We did check our lists carefully, he said at the time.

African Union (AU) commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was originally 17 on the list, but was taken down to 150 because of her position. She did not make the final list.

Axed Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale remained 81 on the list.

Tito Mboweni will return to Parliament as he is 41.

IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula handed over a list of 830 representatives for Parliament and the provincial legislatures to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Friday.

She said the handing over of the lists indicated that the IEC had come to the end of the 2014 general elections process.

Deputy secretary to Parliament Baby Tyawa said the National Assembly representatives would be sworn in on May 21 and those in the National Council of Provinces on May 22.

Sapa



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