Defiant Carl Niehaus vows to fight his ANC suspension
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Johannesburg - Suspended ANC member and Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus has confirmed that he is going to appeal his suspension immediately.
Yesterday, Niehaus was suspended by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) with immediate effect.
“I will appeal this suspension by the ANC with immediate effect. I will remain a dedicated liberation fighter. I have been a member of the ANC for 42 years and the suspension is wrong. I was merely communicating a collective message of the MKMVA,” Niehaus said.
The ANC confirmed the suspension after a letter from ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said Niehaus’s utterances at Nkandla over the weekend brought the party into disrepute and, therefore, the party had decided to suspend his membership.
“The NEC has noted with concern your inflammatory speeches made outside the home of former president Jacob Zuma at Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, over the weekend of July 2 to 4, 2021, and which were broadcast live on national television, and has come to the conclusion that such utterances brought the ANC into disrepute.
“Moreover, you were clad in a T-shirt bearing the ANC logo when you appeared on television,” Duarte said.
Duarte said the NEC had resolved that such conduct contravened Rule 25.17 of the ANC constitution.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed that the ANC had written a letter to Niehaus, which was leaked yesterday.
Mabe was giving the media an update on the developments in the ANC, however he refused to be drawn into discussing the issues relating to former president Jacob Zuma.
“Writing a letter like this to Comrade Niehaus is not something that would have come easily. There would have been a number of instances where the NEC would have expressed itself on what it thought was a deliberate attempt to liquidate the role of the leadership in society,” Mabe said.
In using Rule 25.9 of the ANC Constitution, the NEC had decided to institute disciplinary action against Niehaus within 30 days.
“Such disciplinary hearings will be adjudicated by the National Disciplinary Committee of the ANC. The Chief National Presenter, Uriel Abrahamse, will be formulating and serving a charge sheet on you in due course setting out details of the charges and your rights as a member,” the letter read.
Mabe said the ANC would never purge any of its members for displaying support for an individual leader of the party. The people of South Africa have freedom of movement; you can’t tell the members where to go and where not to go, he said.
“The message we send out is that during Covid-19, where possible, we should avoid large gatherings, we should at all times maintain social distance, put on masks when in public so that we can protect lives. But the ANC will not hesitate to act against action that seeks to undermine its standing in society, liquidate the leadership of the ANC and take away our responsibility to lead the people of this country,” said Mabe.
Mabe said when the ANC takes decisions to act in such cases, it makes sure it also communicates this with society. This is the first of many other actions that the ANC will be taking where there are acts of ill-discipline, said Mabe.
Mabe said the statement issued on Tuesday through Duarte had made clear that the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) in KwaZulu-Natal would have to conduct investigations into acts of ill-discipline involving ANC members, so that the necessary action could be taken.
“This is not part of purging, it is part of our overall efforts to drive forward a unity and renewal of the ANC, a mandate that has been given by ourselves in the 54th National Conference.
“When we return this organisation back to its rightful owners, the members of the ANC. It must be strong, healthy and committed to still champion the cause of the people of South Africa,” said Mabe.
Meanwhile, Niehaus has been know to be a rogue white man who defied the apartheid government since he was in university when when he was expelled from Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) for putting up campus posters that supported Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1980.
After joining the ANC, Niehaus worked in the ANC underground inside South Africa until the former ANC spokesperson was arrested in 1983 and convicted of treason and received a prison sentence of 15 years. Niehaus was incarcerated on November 25, 1983 and released on March 20, 1991.
Immediately after his release, Niehaus became the media liaison for the ANC. In 1994, he became the spokesperson for former president Nelson Mandela and, subsequently, a member of parliament and the chairperson of the Select Committee on Correctional Services. In late 1996, he was appointed South Africa's ambassador to the Netherlands.
At the end of his term as ambassador, Niehaus became an executive director of the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders.
Later in life, Niehaus was surrounded by controversy. He was forced to resign from the ANC in February 2009 after allegations of fraud were brought against Niehaus, most of which he admitted to.
In 2017, Niehaus reemerged as a spokesperson for the MKMVA and a key member of the campaign team for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's bid for the ANC presidency.