Fikile Mbalula: I will never compromise

"I'm a member of the ANC everything else can be taken, but my soul is intact," says Mbalula. (Paul Botes, M&G)

Sports Minister and ANC head of campaigns Fikile Mbalula has warned ANC members not to fall for "dirty money" that is being dished out to buy votes.

Mbalula was speaking at an ANC branch meeting in central Cape Town on Tuesday night. He dismissed reports that he had switched sides and was now supporting President Jacob Zuma for a second term as ANC president at the party's national conference in Mangaung in December.

"There is nobody who can take a decision in a factional meeting about where Mbalula must go," he said. "I don't care about their wishes and what they want. I'm a member of the ANC -everything else can be taken, but my soul is intact."

Mbalula said he would never compromise. "Those who have made their calculation and numbers that they are winning the conference - good work and good luck to them. Let them win it in numbers. We will be there in Mangaung to account and basically say whether we have done our work or not."

He also spoke at length about the alleged bribery of ANC members and branches by powerful groupings to swing the vote for particular candidates at the conference.

He said there were people who called themselves lobbyists in the ANC, who were not necessarily ANC members but were paid to lobby for certain leaders. "They go to provinces and tell them stories: 'We are defending this leader and that leader.' They are given money to come and confuse you."

Temptation
Mbalula said that during the run-up to Mangaung the branches were kings.

"Try as much as possible to stay away from the dirty money. If you can't avoid the temptation, chow the money and keep quiet. And when they come for their money, just say 'siyibambile' [we've got it].

"The ANC can't be run by money; it must be run by the conviction of your principles. From where I stand, I think I'm better off with those principles than with compromising your soul.

"I'm clear that my soul is intact and nobody can buy my ideas," said Mbalula.

He also warned about electing "singers" who did not have a grasp of ANC policies.

"People sing songs to redefine the theory of the struggle and not engage in debate. When you can't engage in debate, the best thing you can do is to sing. The revolution is not about singing," he said.

Crisscrossing 
Mbalula said it was important for ANC members to understand what characterised the period of the "­second phase of the transition".

"You must understand and characterise this particular period's problem, because if you are just going to talk about names and do not speak politics you are going to have names, elect people and then, after Mangaung, those people don't have an agenda.

"They start going up and down, crisscrossing the country like K-Ci and JoJo [an R&B duo from the United States]. They are singing because they don't have a vision.

"You can have the numbers, which is quantity, but if they don't have clarity about where we must get to they can even lead the organisation into a down slope.

"If there's is a lack of political clarity in the leadership, then you'll have people go in a different direction."


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