GWEDE IS A SNITCH
Sports minister is active on a WhatsApp group decrying those ANC leaders seen to be anti-Zuma
Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has launched a scathing attack on ANC secretary-general (SG) Gwede Mantashe, labelling him a snitch and saying he could no longer be trusted because he colluded with the opposition. In a series of WhatsApp messages to individuals loyal to President Jacob Zuma, coordinated by the president’s eldest son, Edward, Mbalula expressed how he had lost all respect for Mantashe.
Mbalula added that the ANC did not need leaders like him.
The WhatsApp group includes some ANC leaders and members, lawyers, intelligence operatives and state-owned company officials, including SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni.
City Press understands it was created with the primary intention of defending Zuma’s presidency.
“I have always held the view that there are some among us who are debriefing the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF),” wrote Mbalula. “Malema exposed Gwede badly. Snitch,” he added. Out of all the members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), Mbalula appeared to be the only active participant in the WhatsApp group.
He continued to complain that Mantashe had lowered his guard and compromised his office.
“This man is the custodian of all secrets, the bearer of good and bad news.
“You would expect the rank and file to engage or [be] implicated in such actions, not the SG.”
Mbalula was referring to a City Press report about allegations that Mantashe “pleaded” with EFF leader Julius Malema to help him scupper Zuma’s Guptalinked nuclear plans when they met privately to discuss municipal election coalitions.
Malema made the revelations under oath in an interview with then public protector Thuli Madonsela.
Mantashe has flatly denied the allegations, whereas Malema stands by what he told Madonsela.
But Mbalula, whose ambitions for the position Mantashe occupies were thwarted in the ANC’s Mangaung conference, held in December 2012, was scathing: “This is more than snitching. He must come clean ... I’ve lost respect for this comrade as my SG, honestly.
“He was advising our opponents. The ANC can’t be led by people like this.”
But he was quickly warned by another participant that he could not ask a snake to explain why it bit him.
“It’s who he is. You have got to deal with that snake accordingly,” he charged. Mbalula agreed. But he did not end there. Mbalula extended his criticism against “undeserving leaders” to ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, who recently made public calls for all NEC members – including Zuma – to step down.
Mbalula was aggrieved that Mthembu and other leaders voiced their displeasure at how the ANC, under Zuma’s leadership, handled the issue of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who faced what were deemed politically motivated charges by the National Prosecuting Authority.
The other leaders included Enoch Godongwana, Aaron Motsoaledi and Joe Phaahla.
“The ANC NEC members who speak out of turn attacking the leadership; [it’s] time we must deal with this,” wrote Mbalula.
“The DA was making a mockery of them in that nonsense debate,” he added, referring to the DA’s motion of no confidence against Zuma, debated in Parliament last week.
On Friday, Mbalula denied being a participant in the group, despite City Press having verified his number.
“There are many information pedlars. Verify before you take information pedlars seriously,” he said.
The WhatsApp group was activated in the first week of November as a cloud hung over Zuma, who was an implicated party in the State of Capture report, which was released on November 2.
Edward Zuma said he was not coordinating the group to defend the president as an individual, but rather, the ANC.
“Do not reduce the group to an individual. It is in defence of the ANC and its leadership,” he said.
“If the leadership is led by the president, then we are defending it.”
He added: “In the group, we have members of Parliament, ministers ...
“They are there as individuals. We deal with issues in our capacity as private individuals.”
Edward Zuma ONLINE BACKCHAT WhatsApp messages from Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, and coordinated by the president’s son Edward Zuma, do the rounds in a pro-Zuma support group