He also leapt to the defence of Zuma’s controversial friends the Guptas, saying the family only received crumbs from the economy.
“Judas took the money to betray Jesus. Some of our comrades have been bought. You see this when a comrade is out of control to talk badly about the ANC and its president,” said Mthethwa.
Mthethwa, a close Zuma ally, was addressing an ANC cadres forum in Molweni township, west of Durban. He said while some senior ANC leaders - calling themselves 101 veterans - were busy attacking Zuma, they were missing the bigger picture, which was white monopoly capital.
Mthethwa denied that the state had been captured by the Guptas, and argued that the concept should be traced back to the times of Cecil John Rhodes, whose legacy could be linked to the current white mono- poly capital.
He added that for the SACP leaders to reject the ANC and Zuma’s views on white monopoly capital, they were denying the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s revelation that black people controlled only 3% of the country’s economy.
“So you say people who own 97% do not exist. Our own comrades are saying that. They even sweat saying that,” he said. “People are petty. They are fighting President Zuma, and they are losing (sight of) the bigger picture. They want the bigger part of the economy to continue to be in the hands of white people,” Mthethwa said, adding that the Guptas were sharing only 3% of the economy.
“Why chase a lizard when there are crocodiles? The whole nation is made to focus on 5% and forget about the companies that have been getting big contracts from the government for the past 40 years,” he said.
Mthethwa said that unlike the current crop of SACP leaders, party leaders such as Moses Mabhida and Walter Sisulu worked tirelessly to defend the ANC.
The Gupta family have come under increasing pressure in the wake of leaked emails which showed how they and Zuma’s son Duduzane were interfering in the appointment of senior officials in the government and their business dealings.
Mthethwa’s comments differed from those of another Zuma supporter, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who told Zuma at the weekend that the Guptas needed to give them space to work.
SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo accused Mthethwa of being delusional for thinking that the SACP has not criticised white monopoly capital.
He said the party had initiated the struggle against all forms of state capture. “Nathi Mthethwa must have been sleeping when the SACP was leading campaigns against large sections of monopoly capital.”
He said that if Mthethwa felt the Guptas owned the crumbs of the economy, they were still “better off than the people who own nothing”.
“Nathi Mthethwa must be concerned about our people who were oppressed under apartheid who own nothing in this economy. But the Guptas have become South Africa’s top billionaires. That is not a crumb compared to millions of our people who live in shacks and have nothing,” said Mashilo.
Mthethwa’s sentiments came as former ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa launched another stinging attack on Zuma’s ANC and the government, saying the party’s national executive committee had to be dissolved to rescue the organisation.
“Our people have lost confidence in the ANC. The scandals are higher than Mt Kilimanjaro. To build the ANC we must go back to the branches and unite them,” he said.
“Empty promises of quality sanitation, housing, electricity, employment and clinics leave the people imprisoned in a state of poverty and shackled to a life of challenges. While government leaders spend millions on lining their own pockets they forget the cries of the people.”
Phosa told a crowd of about 200 people at KwaMfundo High School in Khayelitsha during the Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture that the ANC needed to restore the values of its longest-serving president.
Seven branches of the ANC in the Cape Town metro have officially thrown their weight behind Phosa, endorsing him as their preferred candidate to succeed Zuma.
“I agree to stand as a candidate. I did not decide on my own but was nominated,” Phosa said, adding that his vision for South Africa was to “rebuild our country by putting the needs of the people first and standing in solidarity across all racial and political divides”.