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Hi, MP, this is your boss speaking

Cape Town 15031 -Leaders of the opposition Julius Malema and Mmusi Maimane.at Parliment Picture Brenton Geach

Cape Town 15031 -Leaders of the opposition Julius Malema and Mmusi Maimane.at Parliment Picture Brenton Geach

Published May 26, 2015

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Durban - Pick up your phone, politicians, and account to your bosses, the people!

That is the message from a group of Durban activists who have been making public the cellphone numbers of some of the country’s top leaders.

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The list includes the contact details of ANC heavyweights Gwede Mantashe and Zweli Mkhize, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, EFF president Julius Malema, NFP president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi and IFP stalwarts Narend Singh and Blessed Gwala.

It also includes 15 national ministers and deputy ministers’ cellphone numbers, including Fikile Mbalula and Malusi Gigaba. The list includes KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu and his provincial cabinet of MECs.

The youth movement, iNjeje yamaNguni (United Council of Nguni Youth), on Monday e-mailed the list to media outlets, including the Daily News and Radio 702.

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The movement is led by former Mazibuye African Forum leader, Phumlani Mfeka, whose designation is articulated as “Son of the Nation”.

He is known for his anti-Indian sentiments, including that Indians are not African and that Indians must lose their BEE and affirmative action status, among other things.

They said the numbers were to be distributed, starting on Monday, in townships, rural areas, at taxi ranks and in city centres. “People want to speak directly with their leaders, not just their PA’s (personal assistants) who were never the face when people voted,” said Mfeka.

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“We know they are not going to be happy and they will say it is illegal. If (businessmen) Patrice Motsepe and Vivian Reddy can call ministers anytime of the day, why are they not angry at them, why have they never gone to court for that. Why is it a problem when a voter who is your employer as a public servant wants to interact with you? This should be something they appreciate,” he said.

“If they want to change their numbers, we will find them; these numbers are paid for by us. We must be able to interact,” he said.

UKZN politics lecturer, Zakhele Ndlovu, said leaders needed to be more accountable to the public.

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In a snap survey the Daily News contacted six of the leaders on their cellphones. Only two answered – Shivambu and Gwala.

Mantashe’s phone went to voicemail and advised the caller to “leave your message”. Maimane’s phone rang to voicemail and diverted to his PA, who diverted us to his spokes-man, Mabine Seabe. Maimane was due to fly to Cape Town and did not respond to an SMS.

Malema’s phone rang on unanswered. His deputy, Floyd Shivambu, referred us to party spokesman, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

“No, you must call Mbuyiseni. If it is a media enquiry in our party, he will get to communicate on our behalf,” said Shivambu.

Ndlozi said the public elected parties, not individuals and said seats in parliament and legislatures belonged to the party, not individuals.

 

Ndlozi said the party was interacting on the ground and said they were in a rural town called Hazyview, Mpumalanga, on Monday “where people do not even have airtime to call the leaders”.

IFP MP Gwala said they had a right to choose how they interacted with the public.

“It is wrong to publicise the numbers of the leaders, these people are not conduits for the public… if a leader chooses to interact through a PA it is to regulate the leader’s interaction… everyone will want to talk to you at odd hours,” he said.

Daily News

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