Juju claims rile ANCWL
THE ANC’s national working committee (NWC) yesterday moved to close ranks over claims that some leaders of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) turned their backs on late struggle icon Winnie MadikizelaMandela and are set to meet the late icon’s family in the next few days to deal with the fallout related to the allegations that surfaced at her funeral on Saturday.
This after the ANCWL yesterday called a media briefing at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters to clear the air on claims made by EFF leader Julius Malema that various ANC leaders from its league structures among others “sold out” and treated Madikizela-Mandela like a pariah in her own organisation.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said yesterday that the party had put the brakes on the ANCWL leaders’ attempts to set the record straight.
“There was an intervention, the ANC is saying this is not the right time. At the right time we will respond,” Mabe said.
“Members of the ANC implicated in the allegations approached the organisation and we advised that it’s not advisable to respond to such accusations individually. The ANC will respond at an appropriate time. We must preserve the legacy of Mama Winnie.”
ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula said party members had been advised to allow the ANC as an organisation to comment on such matters. ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini could not be reached for comment.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte called for calm, urging ANC leaders not to fall prey to acts of provocation around MadikizelaMandela’s legacy.
“We appeal to all our people not to be provoked at this sad time. Let us unite in mourning our mother and continue to support the Madikizela- Mandela family with the same spirit love and dignity displayed during Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s mourning period and final send off,” Duarte said.
This comes as calls for and against the opening of a Pandora’s box of apartheid government records of informants as well as journalists on the payroll of the apartheid state’s Strategic Communications (Stratcom) programme are still divided evenly.
There has been increasing speculation that the Madikizela-Mandela was a target of smear campaigns by an apartheid-spy infiltrated media and allegations that ANC members doubling as agent provocateurs, may have been tasked with derailing her political career.
Calls have been made for the government to reveal the names of 40 journalists who were supposedly working for Stratcom and to declassify the names of apartheid government informants.
Former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi yesterday denied that he had resuscitated the investigation into Mandela’s role in the killing of 14-year-old activist Moeketsi “Stompie” Seipei, as claimed in a documentary on Madikizela-Mandela, by French pro- ducer Pascale Lamche.
Mufamadi said yesterday that while he had no knowledge of the existence of a list of ANC members working as spies for the apartheid government, former president Nelson Mandela had made attempts to get hold of it.
“He asked for such a list. He wanted to ensure that we were not sitting with those people in the new government. He asked for it because he wanted the new government to free itself from the old order,” he said.
Mufamadi also said that the decision to distance the United Democratic Front (UDF) from Madikizela-Mandela was not his but a collective decision of the organisation out of concern about happenings in the Mandela Football Club.
“We counselled comrade Winnie about keeping that outfit called Mandela Football Club. Out of many attempts‚ the decision to distance the mass democratic movement from her came from that,” he said.
Lamche who was present at Mufamadi’s briefing, has apologised for not contacting him to obtain a right of reply regarding the claim that he played a role in the reopening of the investigation into Madikizela-Mandela’s alleged involvement in Stompie Seipei’s killing.
However, regarding the names of apartheid agents and ANC leaders who may have conspired to neutralise Madikizela-Mandela’s political aspirations, Lamche said that the allegations were worth looking into.
“What I’m suggesting is that there was a big power struggle. I’m not suggesting that there weren’t legitimate concerns, I’m suggesting that it’s worth looking into what was clearly, (an attempt) that the left wing of the ANC be effectively neutralised at a very significant point in the negotiations for the future of South Africa,” Lamche said.
Veteran journalist Thandeka Gqubule, who has been accused of working at the behest of apartheid’s Stratcom, yesterday vowed to clear her name by approaching the courts in a bid to declassify information pertaining to the covert operation.
Apartheid minister of law and order Adriaan Vlok, who was the sole Cabinet minister to admit committing political crimes at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), confirmed that Madikizela-Mandela was a victim of covert operations due to the threat she posed to the regime.
“Certainly there must have been some of it because she was giving us some trouble. She was a very active lady and she was willing to do what she believed in,” Vlok told The New Age.
Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini raised his concerns that former apartheid operatives could still be active in the new dispensation.
“We should never make the mistake of thinking that those activities stopped, they may have stopped officially in the system, but people who were involved there most of them are still alive,” Dlamini said.
The ANC was yesterday apprehensive about commenting on the matter.
“We should not allow information peddling to divide our attention from what must be achieved and the task at hand,” Mabe said.
SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo cautioned against hastily disclosing such lists.
“The system of apartheid was a very complex system. It had the capacity to say someone is an informant whereas that person was not an informant.
“It could claim that someone was an informant as a tactic to divide the liberation movement. Some of these things are not as simplistic as they appear. How do we verify that someone was an informant?” Mashilo said.