Nkambule quits the ANC

Jaspreet Kindra

Former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader James Nkambule has quit the party.

Nkambule, who is facing charges of defrauding the state, was assisting Minister of Safety and Security Steve Tshwete to unearth a plot to unseat President Thabo Mbeki.

He says that while he feels “used” and “betrayed”, he will continue to assist in attempts to prevent the “destabilisation of the country but in so far as the internal power struggles are concerned, people can fight their own fights”.

Nkambule says his decision to quit came after he saw minutes of a meeting between the Mpumalanga ANCYL and African National Congress secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe held in 1999.

At the time Nkambule was alleged to have been involved in the embezzlement of more than R1-million from the Mpumalanga Parks Board. He was charged with parks board chief Allan Gray later that year.

The minutes show Motlanthe had advised the ANCYL not to place Nkambule in a senior position in the government as the “movement will be severely embarrassed” when his case goes to court.

Nkambule said in 1998 that a portion of the money allegedly embezzled had been channelled to the ANCYL and Mpumulanga structures of the ANC.

In his letter of resignation to the ANC he questioned the party’s “selective morality.
I ask the question: why is Jackson Mthembu, an MPL and former MEC, while charged with fraud, still an MPL and not suspended? Was I not in the same position when ‘Judge’ Motlanthe ruled that my employment will ‘embarrass’ the movement? Is Jackson left untouched because he is friends with ‘Judge’ Motlanthe?”

Mthembu, former Mpumalanga MEC for public works and transport, was arrested by the Scorpions in June this year for alleged fraud relating to a R151-million tender to construct a toll road between Rustenberg and Zeerust.

Nkambule claims that as a result of Motlanthe’s directive he was dismissed from the civil service. “In June this year I lost a brother who died because I could no longer afford medication to deal with his illness.”

ANC spokesperson Nomfanelo Mayosi-Kota says: “By withdrawing himself from the ANC, he has deprived himself of the opportunity of a dialogue with the party. It would be fruitless for the party to respond as Nkambule is no longer a member.”

Nkambule claims that Motlanthe could not have taken a decision on his own and must have received a directive from the top leadership of the party.

Nkambule was identified by Tshwete in a television interview earlier this year as the source of information of an alleged plot masterminded by ANC leaders Mathews Phosa, Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale to over-throw Mbeki.

According to seven affidavits Nkambule had given the police, Phosa had allegedly launched a disinformation campaign to discredit Mbeki.

Nkambule said the campaign involved planting stories in the media about Mbeki’s alleged role in the assassination of former South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani and the president’s alleged “womanising”.

The former youth leader says while there was “no deal” over the assistance he offered the police, “nevertheless, didn’t the members feel that this man was working his arse off for them? It is simple logic that they should also help him.”

Nkambule was suspended from the ANCYL structures in Mpumalanga in 1999 following allegations of faction fighting and was expelled from the youth league last month.

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