/ 3 November 2017

Letters to the editor: November 3 to November 9 2017

‘Tell the real truth’: The Pan Africanist Congress says it does not dispute the fact that Sibongile Promise Khumalo
‘Tell the real truth’: The Pan Africanist Congress says it does not dispute the fact that Sibongile Promise Khumalo

Don’t lie about PAC leader

The serious rape allegation made by Sibongile Promise Khumalo, a former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) operative, against Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) leader Potlako Leballo (Women freedom fighters tell of sexual abuse in camps) is regrettable and, at face value, untrue.

We don’t dispute the fact that Khumalo was raped at some time in her life by someone we don’t know, or that she left the country at age 14, or that she was in military camps in Mozambique.

Nor do we dispute that she was in Tripoli, Libya, at about the age of 15, or that she was once in Tanzania for military training.

The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania sympathises with her in all the suffering she experienced in exile as a child, then as a woman. She did not deserve to be treated thus. We encourage her to talk about things she has not yet spoken about. She is correct in saying that she must not die with these things that keep her depressed.

But if she is still not telling the truth and blaming an innocent person, she is not addressing her problems and will remain depressed for the rest of her life. We encourage her to tell the real truth, not to protect her current organisation at the expense of another organisation.

There are clear discrepancies and gaps in her story:

• She claims to have left Soweto for Mozambique and then was sent to Tanzania by the PAC for military training, then to Libya, but there were no PAC or Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla) facilities in Mozambique.

• She does not state which military camp she went to.

• Leballo was never the president of the PAC, but its secretary general and chairperson of the central committee (until 1978).

• The PAC had a representative office in Tripoli, and in such a case the chief representative would have intervened and she would have been sent back to Tanzania, not Angola. Even if the Libyan government had deported her, she would have been deported to Tanzania, not Angola.

• Apla could not have sent her for military training; it would have sent her to school like thousands of other children her age. Tanzania did not allow military training for child soldiers and that was also the position of the Organisation of African Unity.

• She could not have been sent to Tripoli by Apla: that was not in line with the standard working procedures of the Apla training manual.

In view of the above, we submit that she is not telling the truth about her predicaments in Mozambique and under which liberation movement they took place. It is clear that she was never a member of the PAC or Apla.

We deny the allegations levelled against our gallant leader, Potlako Leballo.

It is a known fact that serious sexual abuse happened in MK camps, as Ra’eesa Pather wrote in “The deafening silence on rape in MK camps lingers” (October 27). She quotes “former MK commander and defence minister Joe Modise [who] said that sexual abuse in MK camps was a very serious problem”.

In the same article, Pather also writes: “During the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] hearings, members of the Pan Africanist Congress’s armed wing, the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla), maintained that rape was never condoned. They said that if any member was found to be guilty, then the TRC should not hesitate to deny them amnesty. ‘Rape is not accommodated and I think we are among the few liberation movements in the world that never experienced that in our camps,’ one Apla delegate testified.”

We would like to appeal to Khumalo not to mislead the people of South Africa about her rape ordeal. — Phillip Dlamini, PAC national chairperson

Dlamini runs her department like a spaza shop

The debacle surrounding the South African Social Security Agency, the standing committee on public accounts and Minister Bathabile “Eh” Dlamini is an indication that we really need serious leadership to resolve the issue of social grant payments. The minister is failing grant beneficiaries in this regard.

We are going back to square one, as she seems not to care — or maybe she wants Cash Paymaster Services to continue distributing grants.

But this is not the crux of the matter here — those receiving social grants must be given assurance that they will get what is due to them.

What we don’t understand is why this person has not been fired in the first place. She has spent valuable time busy campaigning for ANC presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, instead of prioritising to resolve the mess she has created in that department.

She is running it like her own personal trust fund or a spaza shop.

If President Jacob Zuma doesn’t fire her, he must expect a backlash from recipients of grants come 2019. She is a failure who does not deserve to be in Cabinet at all. 
People are anxiously waiting for the way forward, but there seems to be no way forward from her. — Tom Mhlanga, Braamfontein