‘I’ve been be­trayed by com­rades’

Em­bat­tled Makhosi Khoza says be­ing told who to vote for by the ANC lead­er­ship is an in­sult

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA SOKANYILE

BORN to a “ru­ral woman and a fac­tory worker and sales­man”, mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Makhosi Khoza learnt to ques­tion and be­came vo­cal through the teach­ings of her blind grandmother.

Now Khoza, 48, has to de­fend her char­ac­ter from peo­ple she “trusted and a (po­lit­i­cal) party that has been my home from a young age”.

“But noth­ing that is hap­pen­ing here is new to me; I’ve been here be­fore when I was 13 years old,” she said.

Khoza serves on the Na­tional Assem­bly com­mit­tee on fi­nance and is a for­mer chair­per­son of the stand­ing com­mit­tee on pub­lic ac­counts and fi­nance ( Scopa) in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ac­cord­ing to the Peo­ple’s Assem­bly web­site, she has more than 20 years of col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence at pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor in­sti­tu­tions.

Khoza was born in Eden­dale, Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, in a small place called Hare­wood.

“I grew up very poor and the per­son who was most in­stru­men­tal in mould­ing and build­ing my char­ac­ter was my pa­ter­nal grandmother. She was blind but she did ev­ery­thing for her­self, from knit­ting her own bed­spreads to cook­ing.”

Khoza and her sib­lings had to eat from the same bowl, a sym­bol to her of unity and ubuntu.

“Grow­ing up we did ev­ery­thing to­gether, we couldn’t eat un­til ev­ery­one was there. We used to eat in this big basin as­so­ci­ated with the ANC.

“I then be­came the founder and leader of the Young Natal Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Women and re­cruited a lot of young girls; then I started ques­tion­ing things at home, like why I was the one who had to go fetch wa­ter and I started protest­ing,” she chuck­led.

“When I was 14 I was ar­rested. I was one of the speak­ers at the fu­neral of workers in the Trans­port Al­lied Union in Mount Fletcher. I was wear­ing my United Demo­cratic Front T-shirt and at that time they had never seen such a young per­son with so much en­ergy, so po­lit­i­cal and with such spirit.

“We had about 10 buses that moved from Mar­itzburg to that fu­neral be­cause two of our union mem­bers were killed in the boy­cotts in 1983. I de­liv­ered the speech and on our way home we were stopped by the security forces.

“They were clearly look­ing for me and I was ar­rested with another boy, but he was re­leased soon there­after.”

Khoza was de­tained for three months.

“I was locked in soli­tary con­fine­ment, I started play­ing with ants be­cause there was noth­ing else to do. It was dark.

“There were older peo­ple who spoke at the fu­neral but they were never ar­rested. In fact, what is hap­pen­ing to me now is the same thing that hap­pened back then.

“I am now be­ing charged for send­ing a mes­sage to other MPs. (Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile) Mbalula set the tone that I should be pun­ished and that is why I am be­ing charged.

“I am be­ing charged be­cause the ANC Women’s League has por­trayed women as some­how hav­ing in­fe­rior in­tel­lect, sub­servient. I think there is a per­cep­tion in so­ci­ety that if a woman says some­thing or a child says some­thing, get her back in her place.

“I be­lieved any in­jus­tice, no mat­ter who came with the in­jus­tice, I had to fight against it,” she said.

After her ar­rest, Khoza was ha­rassed by IFP mem­bers and she left home.

In 1986, Khoza was al­most killed by her com­rades when she tried to save the life of another young woman.

“I was go­ing to the com­rades’ strong­hold called Moscow and when I got off from the taxi I saw this crowd of peo­ple and a flame and I saw the com­rades burn­ing this girl.

“I didn’t even ask ques­tions but I tried to put out the fire and my com­rades wanted to burn me too.

“They said I was a spy,” she re­called.

“Now I am feel­ing be­trayed again by my com­rades and it’s for choos­ing the peo­ple over President Ja­cob Zuma.

“And they have the au­dac­ity… the lead­er­ship came and told us to vote and de­fend Zuma, to me that was an in­sult.

“After I posted that moral post on my Face­book wall I started get­ting death threats, and all sorts of things hap­pened.”

asanda.sokanyile@inl.co.za

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