The best of South African literature
POOR Tokyo Sexwale. He is going to be president again. But that’s only if becoming president happens in conspiracy theories, plots or party leadership nomination lists.
Only then would he occupy the most spacious office at Luthuli House in Joburg, the revolutionary house, as Julius Malema liked to refer to it before he was booted out of there like a leper.
Sexwale seems to have it all. His Struggle credentials are intact. He was at Robben Island. He is the former premier of Gauteng.
He is of humble beginnings, and, from what I have heard from those who would know, quite a generous fellow to the less fortunate.
And yet the job he likes the most continues to slip through his fingers.
We all know that money isn’t a problem for the former mining magnate.
And if buying political loyalty and friends was everything one needed to get this job, then Sexwale wouldn’t have a problem at all trying to use his billions to get the road to the top paved for him.
Everyone else does it anyway, why wouldn’t it work for him?
Indeed, money cannot buy you happiness or friends but, surely, it should at least open the right doors?
I have seen the three nomination lists doing the rounds and being peddled by the two main ANC factions, one pro-President Jacob Zuma and the other against him.
And Sexwale isn’t on one of them.
The one list has Zuma as president; Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy; Gwede Mantashe as chairman; Joel Netshitenzhe as secretary-general; and Trevor Manuel as treasurer-general.
Sounds very dodgy, because I don’t think the Zuma faction will go to Mangaung without women in its top six list.
The second is a Friends of the Youth League list and has Kgalema Motlanthe as president; Matthews Phosa as his deputy; Thandi Modise as chairwoman; Fikile Mbalula as secretary-general; Paul Mashatile as treasurer-general; and Pemmy Majodina as deputy chairwoman.
No Tokyo Sexwale – not even as deputy chairman.
I am not surprised. As we report elsewhere in this paper today, it would seem that the youths are dumping the Struggle veteran. And if that happens, it will be yet another case of so near, yet so far for Sexwale.
It may shock you if you actually believe these lists to be a real reflection of what’s going down in the corridors of Luthuli House.
Sexwale’s name appears on the third list allegedly compiled by the Gauteng PEC, where he features as Motlanthe’s deputy.
The rest are: Netshitenzhe as secretary-general; Zuma as chairman, Mashatile as treasurer; and Phoebe Potgieter as deputy chairwoman.
He will be 60 next March, and time is running out.
Mangaung may well be his last real shot at nailing the job Zuma appears to already have bagged.
Sexwale has publicly confirmed that he wants this job. But maybe he wants it so badly it continues to elude him.
You know what they say about trying too hard.
Each time there is contestation for this position in the ANC, Sexwale’s name is thrown around.
He himself goes into full flight campaigning, like everybody else.
It seems that he does everything right – everything, except perhaps getting real numbers inside the ANC.
Maybe he plays too clean, or does not play his cards too close to his chest.
Maybe. Or maybe he is just unlucky.
Poor Tokyo Sexwale.