CityPress - - News - By Andisiwe Mak­i­nana

aiez Ja­cobs, who sur­prised many when he was elected as the pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary of the ANC in the Western Cape last week­end, is tak­ing con­tro­ver­sial Na­tional Peo­ple’s Party coun­cil­lor Badih Chaa­ban up on his chal­lenge.

Chaa­ban – whose work­ing ar­range­ment be­tween his party and the ANC went sour in Oudt­shoorn – took to Face­book shortly af­ter the new ANC ex­ec­u­tive was elected to write: “If the newly elected [pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee] gets more than 33% in next year’s elec­tions, I will chop off my c**k in public in Ad­der­ley Street on a busy Satur­day morn­ing.”

“So his d**k will be cut off … and you can quote me on that,” Ja­cobs told City Press this week in one of his first in­ter­views as pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary.

Ja­cobs caused a shock when he emerged from nowhere to win the pro­vin­cial ANC lead­er­ship race, al­beit by a small mar­gin, beat­ing favourite and in­cum­bent Songezo Mjongile by six votes. Many were left ask­ing: “Faiez who?” “I am an old com­rade,” Ja­cobs told City Press. “I have al­ways been a loyal mem­ber of the ANC. I am not a Johnny-come-lately. I’m some­one who has been in the or­gan­i­sa­tion for a very long time.”

Ja­cobs’ ac­tivism started in the 1980s when he was a stu­dent ac­tivist in Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats. In 1989 he be­came the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Western Cape Stu­dents’ Congress.

He later joined the United Demo­cratic Front and was in­volved in the de­fi­ance cam­paign in 1989. He ended up in Vic­tor Ver­ster Prison as a po­lit­i­cal de­tainee at the age 15, at the same time fu­ture pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela was there.

“We were a group of young high school pupils in a max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison when Man­dela was start­ing to lead the ne­go­ti­a­tions there,” he said.

Ja­cobs was also in­volved in Umkhonto weSizwe struc­tures. In 1994 he worked as the youth and stu­dent vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor in the ANC’s elec­tion cam­paign.

Ja­cobs said the time had come to give back to the ANC. He com­pared the party to South Africa’s na­tional soc­cer team, say­ing: “There are a lot of diehard loyal peo­ple, but the ANC is al­most like Bafana Bafana. We all love the team, but we are not putting the best one in place,” he said.

“I am one of those peo­ple who is say­ing the ANC has been good to me, brought me these skills. I know how to chair a meet­ing, I know how to or­gan­ise, I know how to speak pub­licly. I have all these skills be­cause of the peo­ple’s or­gan­i­sa­tion. “So I want to plough back.” City Press un­der­stand that Ja­cobs is tak­ing a huge salary cut in be­com­ing the pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary, but he wouldn’t talk about this.

Faiez Ja­cobs

He is work­ing out his no­tice pe­riod at the depart­ment of co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs, where he has been “mon­i­tor­ing” mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties as part of gov­ern­ment’s “back to ba­sics” team. He boasts that he knows the ins and outs of what mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties should do.

“Now my chal­lenge is to bring those stan­dards of prac­tice into the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” he added.

Ja­cobs and his lead­er­ship team are fac­ing the chal­lenge of unit­ing the ANC in the province while try­ing to win back the Western Cape and Cape Town, the only ma­jor city not gov­erned by the ANC.

The party also wants to win back the coloured vote and re­vive ANC branches in those com­mu­ni­ties.

This is­sue was at the core of re-elected pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Mar­ius Frans­man’s po­lit­i­cal re­port, which he de­liv­ered to the con­fer­ence last week.

“In most in­stances, struc­tures were [nearly de­stroyed by] in­ter­nal di­vi­sions and many mem­bers and sup­port­ers, both African and coloured, left to form and join other po­lit­i­cal par­ties or be­came po­lit­i­cally in­ac­tive,” said Frans­man. “Vot­ers per­ceived our or­gan­i­sa­tion as a crude African­ist one rather than [one pro­mot­ing] rev­o­lu­tion­ary and pro­gres­sive African­ism premised on non­ra­cial­ism, which our move­ment was founded on and sur­vived on for more than a cen­tury,” said Frans­man.

He said this had led to many coloured sup­port­ers pun­ish­ing the ANC and not vot­ing for it in 2009.

Asked about his plans to win over coloured vot­ers and the re­vival of the ANC in coloured com­mu­ni­ties, Ja­cobs said: “It makes sense to have a strat­egy, but I am not a coloured na­tion­al­ist. I am a demo­crat. I am a non­ra­cial­ist. So I don’t want to be used in eth­nic mo­bil­i­sa­tion. We need to en­sure we don’t do that.”

He said there was a need to “take away a vic­tim men­tal­ity”, es­pe­cially in coloured com­mu­ni­ties.

“On the Cape Flats, there is a per­cep­tion that the ANC only cares for Africans, and it is only them who get jobs. On the other side, there is the DA that has this thing that all blacks are cor­rupt.

“Let’s get rid of those stereo­types. They keep peo­ple en­slaved men­tally,” he said.

Ja­cobs has just less than a year left be­fore lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions are held.



Few com­men­ta­tors pre­dicted that Faiez Ja­cobs would be elected the new ANC Western Cape sec­re­tary

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