Touted as a po­ten­tial pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, the hu­man set­tle­ments min­is­ter has pulled no punches about what plagues the party

CityPress - - Front Page - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI hlengiwe.nhlabathi@city­

Hu­man Set­tle­ments Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu has warned the cur­rent lead­er­ship of the ANC that they may live to re­gret their term in of­fice, charg­ing they have no right to hand over a “dis­fig­ured” and “be­smirched” party to the next gen­er­a­tion.

Sisulu, who is also a mem­ber of the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) and na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee, said the lead­ers’ fore­bears dis­played re­spon­si­ble lead­er­ship and handed over to them a vibrant and healthy or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Speak­ing to City Press shortly af­ter she of­fi­ci­ated over the re­nam­ing of a branch in the East­ern Cape, where she was also lob­bied to stand for the pres­i­dency, Sisulu:

Cau­tioned that the ANC could lose the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion if it con­tin­ued on its cur­rent tra­jec­tory;

Said those march­ing against the ANC and, in par­tic­u­lar, against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma could not just be dis­missed;

Slammed the treat­ment of con­cerned vet­er­ans by the ANC lead­er­ship; and

Con­firmed that she had re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that her life had been threat­ened.


Sisulu has been touted as a po­ten­tial can­di­date for the ANC pres­i­dency. City Press un­der­stands that her lob­by­ists have set up pro­cesses to drive her cam­paign.

This means she will be join­ing a field of can­di­dates be­lieved to include Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, for­mer African Union Com­mis­sion chair NkosazanaDlamini Zuma, Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency Jeff Radebe and trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize. While none of them has de­clared their in­ten­tions, their lob­by­ists have been hard at work. Mem­bers of the newly named ZR Ma­ha­bane branch in Keiskamma­hoek, out­side King Wil­liam’s Town, urged Sisulu to stand for the ANC pres­i­dency at the party’s De­cem­ber na­tional con­fer­ence. She did not de­cline the of­fer, but promised to re­turn with an an­swer once she was for­mally nom­i­nated.


Sisulu be­moaned the depth of de­nial­ism in the ANC, which had reached a point where even ad­vice from party vet­er­ans was be­ing re­jected and the stal­warts were be­ing in­sulted. “I feel that we have clothed our­selves in a de­nial­ist mode even to peo­ple who wish us well, who are part of us,” she said.

“They [vet­er­ans] have a space to lead. They brought us here, they are our coun­sel. They have a right to say to us: ‘We don’t think you are go­ing about it the right way.’

“They got a raw deal from peo­ple who felt they needed to pro­tect certain in­di­vid­u­als in the ANC.”

Sisulu said the ANC had al­lowed a certain pop­ulism within its ranks.

“There was a time when the ANC Youth League was in­di­cat­ing that it could have run the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle bet­ter than the vet­er­ans. I thought [this] was very un­for­tu­nate.

“I am still hop­ing that its mem­bers will have the hu­mil­ity to ac­tu­ally apol­o­gise be­cause you don’t say that to our el­ders. They gave ev­ery­thing for what we have.”


Com­ment­ing on pro­pos­als to dis­cuss the state of the ANC and Zuma’s fate at the next NEC meet­ing, Sisulu said the stance should be that “what­ever we do, the most im­por­tant thing for us is to work out what is in the interest of the ANC”.

But she em­pha­sised the need to act on the is­sues that peo­ple found “ab­hor­rent”.

Sisulu said the ANC re­alised, af­ter los­ing con­trol of three met­ros in last year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, that the dam­age was done and it had to do some in­tro­spec­tion.

“We can­not now be finding our­selves in a sit­u­a­tion where there are coali­tions and we are in the op­po­si­tion.

“Some­thing has gone wrong some­where, and we are try­ing to re­con­nect with our peo­ple on an on­go­ing ba­sis.”

Her pri­mary con­cern cen­tres on the ANC los­ing the 2019 na­tional elec­tions. “My main con­cern is that we should not lose the vote. It had not oc­curred to many of us that we would lose the met­ros, but we did be­cause the ANC does not be­long to us,” she said.

We found an ex­tremely vibrant ANC when we came in. We have no right to give it over to the next gen­er­a­tion with a be­smirched mark

“We hold it for the peo­ple who gave it to us. We hold it in trust for the next gen­er­a­tion and we have no right to leave it less prom­i­nent and less ef­fec­tive than we found it.

“We found an ex­tremely vibrant ANC when we came in. We have no right to give it over to the next gen­er­a­tion with a be­smirched mark of any­thing that we will re­gret.”


Asked about at­tempts to re­move Zuma as ANC pres­i­dent, Sisulu said: “When we feel it is time for the pres­i­dent to step down, we will dis­cuss it.

“But what we should all be ask­ing our­selves is this ques­tion: Is this the op­por­tune time to do that when we have a con­fer­ence four months down the line?

“Would you con­sider it the most op­por­tune time?”


Sisulu con­firmed learn­ing about threats on her life, saying she was still in the process of check­ing the ac­cu­racy of that in­for­ma­tion.

She said the fact that it was al­ready pub­lic knowledge had an ad­verse ef­fect on her and ex­posed her even more.

“All I can say is yes, I did get in­tel­li­gence in June that my life was in dan­ger. I need to en­sure that the in­for­ma­tion I have is true.

“But at the same time, I am tak­ing the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions to make sure that I am safe in what­ever en­vi­ron­ment that I am in, be­cause I do not want to take any chances.”

Asked why any­one would want her or any other leader dead, Sisulu said it was be­cause of a mis­guided view held by some peo­ple, who imag­ined that they should pro­tect “certain in­di­vid­u­als in the or­gan­i­sa­tion” against other peo­ple.

“I think this is just mis­guided peo­ple who be­lieve that ‘any out­spo­ken per­son, who does not speak in our lan­guage, is against us’.

“It is that kind of men­tal­ity that says: ‘If you are not with us, you are against us.’”

Out­spo­ken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza is also said to have re­ceived death threats.

And a few weeks ago, a man pointed a gun at Solly Ma­paila, the sec­ond deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary of the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP), at an event to com­mem­o­rate Chris Hani.

Sisulu said there were peo­ple who had in­fil­trated the ANC not for the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s pro­tec­tion, but for their “own self­ish acts”.

“The ANC has never needed pro­tec­tion from internal forces,” she said.


Sisulu raised con­cerns about the state of the coun­try’s se­cu­rity in­tel­li­gence clus­ter, saying: “We need to go back to the draw­ing board.”

This comes on the back of claims by the SACP that there was a rogue in­tel­li­gence unit within the of­fi­cial struc­ture.

“I am a trained in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer and I worry about the level of in­tel­li­gence in this coun­try,” she said.

“We need to make sure we have proper in­tel­li­gence be­cause then we would not have the SACP saying there is a rogue unit in the first place. We should be know­ing and do­ing some­thing about it,” she said.

“Some of the is­sues that are out there should not be out there in the pub­lic do­main with­out us ac­tu­ally assess­ing them, analysing them and be­ing as­sertive that what we are talk­ing about is truth­ful.”


The min­is­ter’s lob­by­ists say she serves as a nec­es­sary “dis­rup­tor” vis-à-vis the two main con­tenders in the ANC’s suc­ces­sion bat­tle: Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma.

Sipiwo Venkile, the branch chair­per­son of ZK Ma­ha­bane – named af­ter the ANC’s for­mer pres­i­dent – did not mince his words in crit­i­cis­ing Zuma’s lead­er­ship dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral branch event at Keiskamma­hoek.

“We do not want thugs to lead us,” he said, to much ap­plause.

Sisulu’s cam­paign­ers say her strength is that she is clean. “She has no skele­ton of the Gup­tas. She has no skele­tons of the Marikana mas­sacre.”

How­ever, on the list com­piled by Sisulu’s team, Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma fea­ture as deputy pres­i­dent and chair­per­son, re­spec­tively.

Two names ap­pear in the po­si­tion of sec­re­tary: Febe Pot­gi­eter-Gqubule or Joel Net­shiten­zhe.

ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize has been touted alongside Free State Premier Ace Ma­gashule for the po­si­tion of deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral and Jeff Radebe for trea­surer.

She has no skele­ton of the Gup­tas. She has no skele­tons of the Marikana mas­sacre


FIGHT­ING CHANCE Min­is­ter of Hu­man Set­tle­ments Lindiwe Sisulu ad­dresses the opening of new ANC branch in Keiskamma­hoek near King Wil­liam’s Town, where she has been nom­i­nated to run for the ANC pres­i­dency in De­cem­ber

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.