ANC KZN squares up to Zuma

From left: KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo and the party spokesperson Mafika Mndebele at the media briefing in Durban on Wednesday. Photo by Boitumelo Pakkies/Independent Newspapers

From left: KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo and the party spokesperson Mafika Mndebele at the media briefing in Durban on Wednesday. Photo by Boitumelo Pakkies/Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 25, 2024


Durban — The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to continue its offensive on former president Jacob Zuma and the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party – at least until the ANC’s manifesto launch next month.

This was revealed by the party’s provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo at a media briefing on Wednesday. The highly charged Mtolo said the ANC has a responsibility to correct lies being fed to the public by Zuma, saying if these lies were not countered, people would believe them.

Taking a veiled swipe at former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Mtolo said it was strange that there were people who said the ANC must not insult Zuma but said nothing to him as he continued to insult President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The ANC has not and will never insult Zuma but will tell people the “truth” about him, Mtolo said. Mkhize had last week veered off the supposedly ANC stance of going on the offensive against Zuma’s decision to dump the ruling party and to choose a splinter party, the MK party, which he was currently campaigning for.

Addressing a cadres’ forum in General Gizenga Mpanza region (KwaDukuza) last week, Mkhize said he did not support attacking and calling people names during the election. He called on the party to focus on fixing its internal problems rather than insulting other people because they have left the party.

Mkhize was the only National Executive Committee member who did not take a swipe at Zuma while other NEC members addressing members in other regions launched a scathing attack on Zuma with Police Minister Bheki Cele calling him a selfish person who did not care about others but only himself.

“We are on him until our manifesto on February 24; thereafter we will focus on telling people what we will offer them and why they should continue voting for the ANC,” said Mtolo.

Without mentioning Zuma by name, Mtolo said: “Here we are talking about a person who diverted funds to build his house leaving people of his village without electricity.”

Zuma was found to have irregularly spent more than R200 million taxpayers’ money on renovating his Nkandla homestead and was ordered to pay back a portion of the funds.

Mtolo said this was at the expense of the people of Nkandla who had no electricity.

On the characterisation of Zuma supporters and MK, Mtolo said it was a fly-by-night party that would disappear after the elections because it was supported by people who did not care about its political ideas but supported Zuma for other reasons.

Insinuating that Zuma’s support was based on tribalism, Mtolo said the fact that there was a video clip circulating where a man wearing an IFP T-shirt was seen jumping with MK supporters shows that people support Zuma because he is one of their own, not because he will deliver services for them.

He also insinuated that Zuma was a dodgy character who was no threat to the ANC because people would not be fooled by him. He said if there was a breakaway party that was capable of destroying the ANC, it could have been Mosiuoa Lekota’s Congress of the People (Cope) in 2008 which was founded by credible leaders.

He said Lekota, Mbhazima Shilowa and the late Mluleki George were clean and credible leaders of the ANC, “not these dodgy characters who are leading this mlilo wamaphepha (fly-by-night).

The ANC has washed its hands and would not persuade Zuma anymore to come back as it did with Mavuso Msimang, Mtolo said.

The party had tried to persuade Zuma to change his stance and come back to the ANC, but he refused, he said. The party first sent former premier Willies Mchunu but Zuma declined; then it sent Bishop Vusi Dube, who is Zuma’s close friend, but he too came back empty-handed.

On other political developments, the ANC defended bringing back former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, subjected to the “step aside” rule, saying she was still the eThekwini regional chairperson and there was nothing wrong in her addressing ANC gatherings.

Gumede was placed on “step aside” after she was arrested and charged for corruption involving a more than R300 million cleaning tender while she was still mayor. At that time the party barred her from participating in its political activities, arguing that her participation would compromise the party’s fight against corruption.

The party said it was expecting 150 000 people at its manifesto launch in Durban. It will take place at Moses Mabhida Stadium but use People’s Park as an overflow venue.

The MK party had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

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