Who tried to kill Solly Ma­paila?

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI hlengiwe.nhlabathi@city­press.co.za

SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) mem­bers and lead­ers have been try­ing to es­tab­lish who could be on a hit list af­ter video ev­i­dence emerged of a mys­tery man who ap­pears to be waiv­ing a gun in the direc­tion of the party’s sec­ond deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Solly Ma­paila at the Chris Hani com­mem­o­ra­tion on Mon­day.

The un­known man was ac­ci­den­tally caught on video by a jour­nal­ist while the crowd heck­led and booed Ma­paila when he was due to de­liver a speech at the state­spon­sored memo­rial ser­vice of slain for­mer SACP gen­eral sec­re­tary Chris Hani.

The video is dark and one cannot make out any in­di­vid­u­als clearly.

The SACP has dubbed the in­ci­dent a failed as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt of Ma­paila, who has been lead­ing the charge for Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to step down in the af­ter­math of a re­cent Cab­i­net reshuf­fle that trig­gered an eco­nomic melt­down.

The party not only wants an ur­gent meet­ing with the ANC-led al­liance to dis­cuss the mat­ter, but also wants an­swers from State In­tel­li­gence Min­is­ter David Mahlobo and Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula.

Some in the SACP have linked the gun-wield­ing man to a se­nior ANC leader whose name is known to City Press.

SACP gen­eral sec­re­tary Blade Nz­i­mande has spo­ken out on the in­ci­dent, but steered clear of di­rectly point­ing a fin­ger at anyone spe­cific.

He said the party re­ceived in­for­ma­tion be­fore­hand that Ma­paila would be booed, but sus­pects that the “as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt” was part of the plot. He said the party had dis­cussed the mat­ter with the ANC and made it clear that it would not re­tal­i­ate.

“We are a proud com­mu­nist party and a dis­ci­plined com­po­nent of the al­liance and we are not go­ing to re­tal­i­ate. But we never thought it would go to an ex­tent that some­one would ac­tu­ally be car­ry­ing a gun there. That is re­ally deeply dis­turb­ing.”

Nz­i­mande said it was no se­cret that there were a lot of “par­a­sites” who were not happy with what Ma­paila was say­ing on be­half of the party.

It’s un­der­stood there were SMSes that were cir­cu­lated in ad­vance to var­i­ous peo­ple within the ANC in­struct­ing them to cause chaos at the event. Ma­paila was first booed when his name was called out for him to go and lay a wreath on Hani’s grave on be­half of the SACP.

“Some of them would like a sit­u­a­tion where they [can] just steal and loot the state and cor­rupt our al­liance at will. We know the par­tic­u­lar tar­get is the ANC be­cause the ANC is the gov­ern­ing party.”

It re­mains a mys­tery how the armed man gained ac­cess to the highly se­cu­ri­tised zone that was swept by Zuma’s se­cu­rity de­tail.

Nz­i­mande said he hoped all the al­liance struc­tures would co­op­er­ate in help­ing iden­tify the per­son and the cir­cum­stances un­der which he was al­lowed ac­cess with a gun at a func­tion that the pres­i­dent at­tended.

There were last-minute changes to the pro­gramme that saw Zuma take to the podium first, ahead of al­liance part­ners. He left shortly af­ter speak­ing.

The party lead­ers were seething with anger at the brazen in­tent to spill blood at Hani’s gravesite. Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina’s of­fice said he would as­sist in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of such a se­ri­ous mat­ter.

“We are aware of the al­le­ga­tions that have been made, though we have not re­ceived any of­fi­cial cor­re­spon­dence from the SACP re­gard­ing the mat­ter. We would sup­port an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter as it is quite se­ri­ous,” said Masina’s spokesper­son Gugu Ndima.

Nz­i­mande said there was no doubt that the se­cu­rity of the party lead­er­ship as a whole was un­der threat.

“We are go­ing to raise it with them be­cause it’s clear that Solly’s se­cu­rity now is se­ri­ously un­der threat, if not the party lead­er­ship as a whole. There is no doubt about it – that is why we are go­ing to en­gage gov­ern­ment.”

City Press un­der­stands that the se­cu­rity of SACP lead­ers has been se­ri­ously beefed up. This is not the first time that SACP lead­ers have been un­der threat.

“We can’t al­low a sit­u­a­tion where we go back to the sup­pres­sion of com­mu­nists in this coun­try. We have raised this with the al­liance. We said we felt that in par­tic­u­lar prov­inces and with some na­tional lead­ers, there is an an­ti­com­mu­nist pos­ture that is rem­i­nis­cent of the apartheid sup­pres­sion of com­mu­nism,” said Nz­i­mande.

Nz­i­mande said if noth­ing got done, the SACP was go­ing to mo­bilise.

He dared anyone who thought the SACP was a “Mickey Mouse party” to think again.

An al­liance in­sider said this shows the level of des­per­a­tion on the part of staunch Zuma sup­port­ers un­happy with the es­ca­lated mo­bil­i­sa­tion against Zuma.

Nz­i­mande said death threats against any of them would not de­ter them from fight­ing against mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal and “el­e­ments that are loot­ing the state and weak­en­ing our ca­pac­ity to deal with mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal”. “And these are the par­a­sitic pa­tron­age net­works. That’s the strug­gle that we will in­ten­sify as the com­mu­nist party and noth­ing will stop us from that. Not even death threats. Death threats do not mean we must sit back. We deal with the death threats in the con­text of fight­ing this big­ger strug­gle and of course we have to en­sure that our lead­ers are pro­tected.”

Ma­paila is a for­mer Umkhonto weSizwe mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tive and served in the mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence af­ter the SA Na­tional De­fence Force was es­tab­lished.

But in­stead of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the mil­i­tary, Ma­paila chose to re­main at the SACP of­fices where he takes care of the day-to-day run­ning of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in Nz­i­mande’s ab­sence.

The SACP amended its con­sti­tu­tion at its 2009 congress to cre­ate the sec­ond deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary po­si­tion and re­moved the stip­u­la­tion that the po­si­tion of gen­eral sec­re­tary be full-time.

There had been con­cerns that se­nior gov­ern­ment po­si­tions held by party bosses such as Nz­i­mande and Jeremy Cronin were weak­en­ing the party’s man­age­ment.

Ma­paila has been on the of­fen­sive in re­cent days, tak­ing on Zuma and the Gupta fam­ily.

Screen­shot show­ing the sup­posed gun-wield­ing man

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