ANC vet: Cabal report is a ‘distortion of reality’

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has been accused by the Economic Freedom Fighters of being a member of a “cabal”. (David Harrison/M&G)

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has been accused by the Economic Freedom Fighters of being a member of a “cabal”. (David Harrison/M&G)

This article was originally published on March 29 2019


Economic Freedom Fighters deputy president Floyd Shivambu, in the equality court, attaches a document, Report of the Commission on the Cabal, dated March 1990. The report was obtained from the [Padraig] O’Malley Archive — the author of the biography of liberation leader and ANC veteran Mac Maharaj.

Shivambu says the report identifies Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan — during the 1980s Mass Democratic Movement — as a member of a “cabal”, which “manipulates strategy, lacks democratic practices and stifles free and open debate” and that it targeted black [African] members.

Shivambu says: “It appears that Mr Maharaj drafted the report.”

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian this week, Maharaj said he had “no knowledge of, or participation in, the preparation of this so-called report”, adding that it was a “very strange document to [appear] in March 1990 — just after the ANC, MK [the movement’s armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe] and SACP [South African Communist Party] were unbanned”.

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“Insofar as this document talks of any group having differences of opinion in the movement: we came across, over the history of our struggle, many issues of differences regarding tactical matters amongst comrades from the day I joined the movement in 1953,” said Maharaj.

“It has been a tradition of the movement to treat such differences as legitimate and a healthy phenomenon, and to resolve them by discussion and not to make judgments from above or issue condemnations.

“PG [Pravin Gordhan], and many of the names, irrespective of their race, that appear in the document, were active comrades in different arms of the struggle. From time to time, there were differences of view and all of them were part of the process of finding solutions, guided by the unity of the masses of our people.

“At times, these differences were very sharp.
But we knew these were differences amongst committed comrades who were part of one organisation, involved in one struggle, namely bringing to an end white minority rule.

“Over the years as a Congress activist, PG had contributed to building organisations and capacity both in the underground and in the Mass Democratic Movement, working with comrades from all communities in many anti-apartheid campaigns.

“Insofar as this purported report maligns any of the people named in it, it is a complete distortion of the reality. It is a misuse of the document to dub Pravin as a mischief-maker and a cabalist.”

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