The national chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC), Gwede Mantashe, said the party’s secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, should have kept "mum" about the Nkandla fire pool saga and saved himself from catching fire.
“When you lead, you count every word you say; if you don't, you catch fire,” he said. Mantashe said Mbalula was carried away by cameras and media presence, became excited, and spilled the beans on some of the party’s secrets.
“I thought he was carried away by you guys; he saw your cameras, he got taken away, and he said things he should not have said,” he said.
Gwede Mantashe says Fikile Mbalula speaks out of excitement and doesn't count his words. He says Mbalula lacks leadership skills because as a leader you must be cautious of things you say. pic.twitter.com/ccyUrj52Wj— Banele (@Gentlements) January 9, 2024
However, he said, Mbalula will master the trick of getting excited over the media and controlling the things he says.
“I think it’s something he will learn in the trade. As you grow in the trade, you understand that better. You can say things without being excited, but say and explain things very well,” he said.
He said they closed the Nkandla saga a long time ago and asked why it should be opened now.
This comes after Mbalula publicly revealed over the weekend in Mpumalanga, that the ANC lied about the fire pool in Nkandla to protect and defend former president Jacob Zuma when the Constitutional Court ruled that he was not fit for office.
This, among other reasons, gave the impression that the ANC was also protecting President Cyril Ramaphosa in the Phala Phala matter.
Trying to spin himself out of the fire, he released a statement, saying he was misinterpreted while making his remarks.
This is what he said: “As such, the ANC, as I so eloquently argued, was duty-bound to empanel parliamentary structures to investigate the serious accusations.
"Such a move was precisely to protect the ANC president from being unfairly overrun by the malevolent opposition.
“What is important to expose here is that by affording the president due process of law, which was his right under our constitution, the ANC was protecting its president.
“I fairly reported that the matter was ventilated in the courts, as it was supposed to be, and the chips fell where the Constitutional Court said they should fall.”
Mbalula said his remarks should be understood as political rally rhetoric and polemics.
The ANC is currently in Mpumalanga to celebrate its 112th birthday.