Sisulu slams ‘ven­omous’ Cyril back­ers

If elected, the ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful wants to bring Mbeki, Mot­lanthe and Juju back to the fold

Mail & Guardian - - News - Ma­tuma Let­soalo

ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Lindiwe Sisulu has ac­cused deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s sup­port­ers of ul­te­rior mo­tives after some pushed for her to be dropped from his slate as his po­ten­tial deputy.

This state­ment is bound to add fuel to the firestorm of crit­i­cism she faced after re­port­edly ques­tion­ing ANC sec­re­tary gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe’s strug­gle cre­den­tials last month.

She told the Mail & Guardian in an in­ter­view on Thurs­day that she did not need to be aided by Ramaphosa to be elected as one of the ANC’s top six of­fi­cials be­cause she was a can­di­date in her own right.

“They [Ramaphosa’s sup­port­ers] are free to do as they please. All I want is the best for the ANC. If Cyril and [ANC trea­surer] Zweli Mkhize — two men — are go­ing to be the best for the ANC and gen­der par­ity, let it be so,” Sisulu said.

Nom­i­na­tions by sev­eral ANC branches through­out the coun­try showed that many branches that sup­ported Ramaphosa as a can­di­date for ANC pres­i­dent had also nom­i­nated Mkhize as his deputy.

Sisulu, the hu­man set­tle­ments min­is­ter, said she was dis­ap­pointed that some within the Ramaphosa camp had mis­in­ter­preted her re­ac­tion to Man­tashe’s state­ment that the ANC would face a cri­sis if Ramaphosa did not suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma as ANC pres­i­dent.

“All I said was that, as the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the ANC, you ought to be above the fray. Even if you have a per­sonal choice to make, while he is run­ning the con­fer­ence he [Man­tashe] needed to [ex­er­cise] some ob­jec­tiv­ity.

“Sec­ondly, I was ob­ject­ing to the fact that he [Man­tashe] was say­ing it was go­ing to be very rough in De­cem­ber and a woman can’t cope. It [Man­tashe’s state­ment] said to me that there is a sub­lim­i­nal pa­tri­ar­chal ten­dency in an ANC which pur­ports to be non­sex­ist. What was im­por­tant to me was that I am one of the can­di­dates. I ex­pressed my­self as one of the can­di­dates and not as Cyril’s [po­ten­tial] deputy,” said Sisulu.

She told the M&G that the Ramaphosa camp’s de­ci­sion to put her on their list as deputy pres­i­dent im­pacted neg­a­tively on her cam­paign to be the next ANC leader.

“I am run­ning on my own slate and in my own slate Cyril is my deputy, in the same way that he as­sumes that I would have been his deputy. It is as though some­body [thinks he/she] was do­ing me a favour. They would have put that name [Sisulu] there, hav­ing con­sid­ered what ben­e­fits they get out of my­self.

“In my own right, all my life I have served the ANC. I have ac­cu­mu­lated all this in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge. I worked very hard. I was not bank­ing on some­body bail­ing me out,” Sisulu said.

She would support any­one who was elected to the top po­si­tion in De­cem­ber, she said.

“The ven­omous [at­ti­tude that is hap­pen­ing now] ought not to be hap­pen­ing in the ANC. It is the kind of venom I am get­ting from Cyril’s camp. Who­ever is plant­ing that venom must have an ul­te­rior mo­tive.

“It’s fine. For me, the ANC must win. The most im­por­tant thing is: Who is it that will stand up for all South Africans and be able to take the ANC to a de­ci­sive win in 2019? That, for me, is the most de­cid­ing fac­tor,” said Sisulu.

If elected ANC pres­i­dent, one of her first pri­or­i­ties would be to bring back for­mer pres­i­dents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Mot­lanthe to play an ac­tive role. She would also con­vince Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers leader Julius Malema to re­turn to the ANC fold, she said.

“Com­rade Kgalema was badly treated at the [ANC] con­fer­ence [in 2012]. Com­rade Thabo Mbeki was very hu­mil­i­ated at the [ANC] con­fer­ence [in Polok­wane] in 2007. I value their con­tri­bu­tion. Com­rade Thabo is an in­tel­lec­tual of note. Com­rade Kgalema is a moral­ist of note. We want those peo­ple. I think we owe it to them to ex­tend a hand and say: ‘It should not have been like that.’

“We are los­ing in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity. We are los­ing moral ca­pac­ity. We are los­ing ide­o­log­i­cal ca­pac­ity. I want those peo­ple back be­cause they be­long. The ANC does not be­long to only one group of peo­ple. It be­longs to all South Africans,” Sisulu said.

If elected, she has pledged to form a pres­i­den­tial coun­cil com­pris­ing all for­mer pres­i­dents, in­clud­ing Zuma.

“We are los­ing all that ac­cu­mu­lated ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge. Th­ese would be the peo­ple that the pres­i­dent can call upon and say: ‘We are fac­ing a nu­clear prob­lem; how do I re­solve it? Which is the best en­ergy mix we can get?’ Or: ‘I am fac­ing #FeesMustFall protests or re­volt from civil so­ci­ety.’

“If Com­rade Thabo Mbeki had had a pres­i­den­tial ad­vi­sory team, some of the is­sues around HIV/Aids would have been [dealt with] by a col­lec­tive,” Sisulu said.

Restora­tion: With the ANC national elec­tive con­fer­ence ap­proach­ing, Lindiwe Sisulu says she wants to bring moral­ity and in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity back to the party. Photo: El­iz­a­beth Se­jake/Rap­port/Gallo Im­ages

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