President of the African National Congress (ANC) Veterans League Snuki Zikalala on Wednesday said ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula “got excited” when he made his recent utterances on the Nkandla “fire pool” matter.
On Sunday, Mbalula came under fire after he said the ANC had lied to protect then president Jacob Zuma, whose R206 million Nkandla upgrade at taxpayers’ expense raised eyebrows more than 10 years ago.
“We defended former president Zuma, even going to Parliament and saying that a swimming pool is a fire pool ... The Constitutional Court, chaired by Mogoeng Mogoeng, issued a judgment against Jacob Zuma, but the ANC stood by him. Zuma now says he can’t stand President Cyril Ramaphosa,” Mbalula said.
Speaking to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Zikalala said Mbalula will have to explain his remarks.
“I think the secretary-general will have to answer and so I cannot say much about what he said. As the NEC (national executive committee) of the ANC, we have not discussed much about that matter. I have heard about it, seen the clip, I think it is a matter we will discuss,” said Zikalala.
“I think he got more excited. I don’t know what excited him, and it it is unfortunate it went that way.”
On Tuesday, IOL reported that Minister of Minerals and Energy, Gwede Mantashe has lambasted Mbalula for his utterances on the Nkandla “fire pool”.
The ANC national chairperson, Mantashe, while speaking to the media from Mbombela, Mpumalanga, said Mbalula should not have made the remarks on the “fire pool”.
Mantashe said he believed Mbalula got “carried away” in the presence of the media.
“I thought he was carried away by yourself guys, he saw your cameras he got taken away and he said things he should not have said, when you lead you count every word you say,” Mantashe said.
University of Cape Town (UCT) Professor Dirk Kotze told The Star on Tuesday that Mbalula’s comments would hurt the ANC in light of the Phala Phala matter as well as the party’s recent governance failures.
“I think these utterances will become an issue in the elections. It will be a political issue that will become part of the campaigning and will be regarded as one of the reasons people are told to not vote for the ANC,” Kotze said.
“It will form part of the main arguments of some of the opposition parties even though I do not think that Phala Phala itself will become part of the main issue. The other issues regarding the ANC, like its record of governance, service delivery, corruption and state capture and all of those will be quite prominent.”