Bonginkosi Khanyile fights dismissal from PA

Bonginkosi Khanyile during one of his court appearances in Durban for inciting violence during the 2021 July unrest. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/ Independent Newspapers

Bonginkosi Khanyile during one of his court appearances in Durban for inciting violence during the 2021 July unrest. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/ Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 29, 2023


Durban — A legal showdown is looming between the Patriotic Alliance (PA) and its KwaZulu-Natal premier candidate, Bonginkosi Khanyile, who has vowed to challenge his dismissal in court.

Despite tendering an apology and explaining his reasons for being at the Umkhonto weSizwe party event, the PA expelled Khanyile on Wednesday evening. His profuse apology did not deter PA president Gayton Mckenzie and deputy president Kenny Kunene from expelling him.

In a statement issued by the party on Wednesday evening, it said it did not accept the apology. The party said it was not acceptable for any leader of the PA to appear at an event of a rival political party without consultation with other PA leaders. It added that Khanyile’s appearance was used by PA’s detractors to suggest that the party is affiliated with MK in some way and that Khanyile was endorsing the MK because he was accompanied by other PA supporters wearing party regalia.

“Khanyile’s actions brought himself and the party into disrepute in a manner that unfortunately requires the firmest and most decisive of responses. Accordingly, PA president Gayton Mckenzie and deputy president Kenny Kunene have expelled Khanyile from the PA,” read the statement.

The party said it would announce a new premier candidate in due course, adding that the Youth Alliance had a strong crop of young leaders from whom an inspiring leader would be chosen.

Hitting back, the former #FeesMustFall leader told the Daily News on Thursday that he was consulting his lawyers about fighting the dismissal from the party.

“This is nonsense. I will take the matter to my lawyers. Why did they dismiss me after I apologised?” he asked.

Khanyile attended and addressed MK party members on Tuesday in Verulam, north of Durban, alongside former president Jacob Zuma. In a video that circulated on social media soon after his appearance, he is seen being introduced by Zuma, who said they would be campaigning with him next year. This was construed as if Khanyile had joined the MK.

In his explanation coupled with an apology, he said because of his known long-standing relationship with Zuma he felt he should reconnect with him upon hearing that he was addressing the MK party gathering. Khanyile said he attended the event purely in his personal capacity, and not as a PA member.

“I have noted with grave concern how my pictures and videos at the event have been used on social media for propaganda purposes, and to create the impression that I have left the Patriotic Alliance to join Umkhonto Wesizwe. This is far from the truth as I remain a loyal and disciplined member of the PA. My long-standing association with former president Jacob Zuma is no secret and I still regard him as my father.

“When I heard that he was going to address the same MK gathering, I used an opportunity to reconnect as I was in the vicinity where the event was taking place. I attended the gathering purely in my personal capacity to give support to my father,” concluded Khanyile.

The PA’s spokesperson, Steve Motale, said Khanyile was within his rights to go to court but he remained fired from the party.

An independent analyst, Thobani Zikalala, said the PA was harsh and would regret its decision. He said although the party's decision was understandable, it should have been smarter, like the ANC, which has not taken any action against Zuma.

Zikalala added that it would be difficult for the PA to find a premier candidate who would be like Khanyile in KwaZulu-Natal, given that people here follow personalities rather than political party principles.

After the EFF assisted Khanyile by dispatching its national chairperson Advocate Dali Mpofu SC to fight for his bail release, which was successful in 2016 after he was arrested for inciting public violence during the FeesMustFall campaigns, he ditched the EFF for the PA last year. He was subsequently appointed as a strategic adviser to PA Ekurhuleni councillor Bakang Lethoko.

The PA also appointed Khanyile as its youth wing leader and had recently appointed him to be its KwaZulu-Natal premier candidate. Although the PA seemed far from winning the province, being a premier candidate presented Khanyile with an opportunity to go to the legislature should the party secure enough votes for a seat.

He is currently on trial for instigating violence during the 2021 civil unrest associated with Zuma’s arrest. He will return to court for a trial on January 22 and February 4 next year.

On the other political development, the Daily News has been reliably informed that there were senior ANC members who would be formally introduced as new members of the MK party in its event which will be held next week at Zuma’s homestead.

An insider said among them would be the ANC’s KZN legislature member Hlobisile Dlamini, who is Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's sister.

Hlobisile Dlamini, who posted on social media that she would be announcing her decision, was sarcastic when the paper asked her about the post, saying she meant she would be announcing that she was getting married.

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