Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s tentative second term ambitions received a shot in the arm on Friday night when former uMkhonto weSizwe combatants, including Robert McBride, pledged their support for the embattled exile-era commander.
The pledge was made during the Amadelakufa Awards held at the DLI Hall in Greyville, Durban.
The awards recognise MK members, dead and alive, who showed bravery during apartheid.
The combatants, many of them members of the MK Military Veterans Association and members of the army, said the only way to fight crime, corruption and jostling for positions in the ranks of the ANC was to vote for Zuma for a second term.
“We must continue to support Comrade Gedleyihlekisa, our commander for his second term,” said MKMVA general secretary, Dumisani Nduli.
KwaZulu-Natal ANC deputy chairman Willies Mchunu equated media reports on Zuma’s contentious Nkandla home upgrade to the propaganda advanced by Nazi Germany’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.
“They believe you must tell a lie all the time until it is believed,” said Mchunu.
Mchunu said the people had grown tired of the media’s propaganda on Nkandla.
“When you are having breakfast you see Nkandla on television, during lunch you see Nkandla, you are having supper you see Nkandla, and even the newspapers from Monday to Sunday they write about Nkandla.”
“This is their plan to keep the story in the media. The issue must stay in the media until the election in order to confuse our people,” said Mchunu.
In a thinly veiled attack on the office of the Public Protector, Mchunu slammed Thuli Madonsela’s statement, issued yesterday, that said the report would be released next month.
“The government has released its own report which did not find the president to have committed any wrong. In fact the minister in charge clearly pinpointed that there were people who flouted rules, but now it is said that the report will be released in February. This is a plan to keep the issue in the media by extending and dragging it,” he said.
“Why hasn’t the DA taken Zuma to court regarding Nkandla, because they are good at that? They do these things because they are protecting their privileges. They are not taking South Africa forward and they want the status quo to remain,” Mchunu said.
Mchunu accused the DA of “renting our children”.
“Lest we forget who in reality the DA are. We have built houses and roads, if you vote for them what are they going to do? We have done all of that,” he said.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s executive director designate, McBride, and presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj were among the 27 recipients of bravery awards
McBride is expected to assume his new position next month after being nominated by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa in November last year.
The former chief of Ekurhuleni metro police refused to discuss the prospects of his new plum job saying it was premature to do so.
McBride is known for his June 1986 bombing of Why Not restaurant and Magoo’s Bar on the Durban beachfront.
Three people were killed and 69 injured in the attack.
He was arrested and placed on death row but was later spared.
He subsequently received amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Interestingly, McBride was in the company of Gordon Webster, a fellow MK operative and a man he helped smuggle out of Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg in May 1986.