Mbalula addresses ANC unity, semantics and concubines
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula spoke before the press in Nasrec early Sunday, briefing those present on topics that dominated the ANC’s fifth policy conference – namely, factionalism, ethics oversight, and the party’s longstanding lexicon.
“Who are we?” Mbalula asked the crowd, “on organisational renewal and design … first and foremost is the question of what we are … who are we and where we come from.”
The minister repeatedly stressed the importance of looking to the party’s past when considering strategies to shape its future.
“The ANC is the oldest liberation movement and political party in Africa that is still in existence,” Mbalula stated proudly.
“The ANC remains the leader in the process for social change as demonstrated by delivery since 1994. That said, the ANC must maintain its dual currency as a liberation movement and a political party.”
Mbalula then launched into a diatribe against recent developments that – in his mind – have undermined member unity. “What has been proven to be a challenge is the lobbying process, engineered by clandestine factionalism which destabilises the organisation,” he said.
“[factionalism’s] clandestine nature makes it a parallel activity that is beyond reproach.”
The remarks were later followed by a warning to ANC MPs who plan to support President Jacob Zuma’s upcoming no-confidence vote in Parliament.
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According to reports from eNCA, Mbalula stated the National Executive Committee had decided “we will not withdraw our president from Parliament, will not withdraw our president from the executive … all party members are supposed to follow that mandate.”
“To the extent that people will be ill-disciplined, the ANC will have to apply the disciplinary procedures for those who want to use conscience.”
Tensions remained high throughout the briefing, however, as frustration in the audience appeared to boil over while Mbalula was attempting to answer a question concerning whether ANC members embroiled in the Gupta email scandal should face penalty or expulsion.
The minister expressed support for efforts to “investigate” individuals who possess “questionable wealth”.
“It starts with us … society expects us to lead by example,” he affirmed.
Anger erupted from the press corps, nevertheless, after Mbalula made a curious statement involving the alleged thorough nature of ethics oversight in Parliament and concubines.
“We are being asked to declare everything. The only thing left is, if you’ve got concubines … that’s not what you are supposed to declare.”
The remarks followed a long discussion of the need for ANC members to practice strict word-choice – specifically with regard to “white monopoly capital” and “monopoly capital.”
Mbalula warned members to be wary of “new and liberal phrases.”
“The ANC recognises that monopoly capital of whatever kind or race is not desirable and cannot be accepted as it constrains the economy from growth and radical innovation.”
“We must not abandon our lexicon simply because others want to use it to achieve narrow gains,” the minister declared.