Durban — The ANC secretary general's admission that it lied in Parliament when it said former president Jacob Zuma had built a fire pool instead of a swimming pool at his Nkandla homestead may haunt its members for lying under oath.
In the build-up to the party’s 112th anniversary to be held in Mpumalanga, the party’s secretary-general Fikile Mbalula -- in countering the MK Party’s surge -- took a swipe at Zuma, saying that the party went out of its way to defend him even if he was wrong.
On Sunday, Mbalula said the ANC in Parliament closed ranks and defended Zuma, even agreeing that the pool was a fire pool in order to protect him, adding the party was at pains to tell lies (ubuxoki).
Mbalula’s admission has drawn sharp reaction and criticism from opposition parties and political analysts.
In its reaction, IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Mbalula has merely confirmed what the whole country and the world knew: that the ANC is a corrupt syndicate which was no longer fit to govern and Zuma was a beneficiary of that corruption.
Hlengwa said the upcoming elections were an opportunity to remove the ANC and its most brazen beneficiaries from power.
Parliament was now duty-bound to review the Nkandla-related reports and hold accountable those who were party to misleading Parliament as this was a criminal offence, Hlengwa said.
DA national spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the admission by Mbalula that they lied to the country, to Parliament and broke the law was a grave indictment of the ANC.
“Their MPs collectively contravened their oath of office. The ANC is not fit to govern the country. This admission proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
“We hope that South Africans keep that in mind when they cast their votes in the election this year,” said the DA.
African Transformation Movement leader Vuyo Zungula said this confession proved that the ANC would go to lengths to protect its own and this was in no way shocking.
He said the Zondo inquiry and its report were finalised, with recommendations and a list of those implicated in wrongdoing, yet nothing has been done. The very same ANC refuses to entertain it and treats the Section 89 Independent Panel Report in the same light.
“These reports are equally similar and their recommendations are just as valid because in hindsight, this Phala Phala matter is a form of state capture.
“All the machinery of the ANC is unleashed when their leader fumbles -- Riah Phiyega, the former national police commissioner is on record spewing lies about how they built the ‘fire pool’ because rural areas don’t have fire extinguishers, etc, and how all the efforts were in the protection of the then president.
“Fast forward to 2022, and the ANC repeats history, shielding Cyril Ramaphosa from accountability on the #PhalaPhalaFarmGate scandal after the ATM successfully initiated an Independent Section 89 process led by the capable former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo,” said Zungula.
Political analyst Thobani Zikalala said Mbalula has put the ANC under the bus by admitting that it lied in Parliament and to the public.
Opposition parties now have ammunition to use when campaigning for the upcoming elections, he said.
He said the admission has created a trust deficit between the ANC and the public, because the party would be regarded as a party of lies and this may dent its image.
He further stated that Mbalula thought he was discrediting Zuma and forgot that he was implicating the ANC at the same time in that it allowed corruption.
Zikalala’s sentiments were echoed by another analyst, Susan Booysen, who said the lies had brought the ANC to where it was now as it has lost support. The party’s dwindling support was as a result of such things, she said.
“The admission has turned its anti-corruption stance into mockery and it will be difficult to convince people that it is serious about fighting corruption,” said Zikalala.
Zuma was found by then public protector Professor Thuli Madonsela to have irregularly benefited from the state during the security renovations at his house and was ordered to pay a portion of the costs.
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