/ 24 June 2023

DA ‘lies’ about governing better than ANC must be rejected, says Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula selfie.

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula has called on party delegates to hold the Democratic Alliance to account, saying that ANC Western Cape leaders had allowed the blue party to create a narrative that it governed better than the governing party. 

Mbalula was speaking at the opening of the Western Cape ANC conference on Saturday, which will see it electing new provincial leadership, since its disbanding in 2019. 

The conference was set to start on Friday but was delayed due to logistical issues. 

Mbalula said that delegates must not be persuaded to vote for certain individuals via bribes, adding that ANC members should instead be convinced by “deeds and standing” that candidates deserve to be elected. 

“You need to talk – and I emphasise this point that you need to talk – especially here in the Western Cape. Because here in the Western Cape, we are facing a difficult revolution; you are busy fighting for nothing and yet the power is gone. The DA here in the Western Cape is in charge and I don’t see you comrades, taking the DA to task. But the DA is chasing us everywhere in the country. We can feel them. Even with lies and distortions, but they are there.” 

He said the DA had “been allowed” to blame the ANC for its own failures in metros such as Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Johannesburg. 

“They have even sold a story to the rest of the world that where [the DA] governs [it] governs well, and the world believes them.”

The ANC had “allowed” the DA to perpetuate those lies and distortions, he added, because of its own infighting, by being “at each other’s throats for temporary power”. 

“You will elect leadership here comrades [but] what will that leadership do after this conference to lead this province out of this quagmire that we’re facing in this province? Are you able to talk and accommodate each other? You’re not doing that.” 

The race for Western Cape chair is between Cameron Dugmore – the chairperson of Parliament’s Section 194 Inquiry into the Public Protector’s impeachment; Richard Dyantyi; senior government official Justin de Allende, and IPC head Lerumo Kalako. 

Former Hawks head Anwar Dramat is hoping to be elected as the provincial chair, while Western Cape interim provincial committee convenor Thandi Manikivana is hoping to be elected as the deputy chairperson. 

Mbalula said the leadership that comes out of the conference must be respected. 

He said that the Western Cape conference must be understood in the context of the poor, and that the DA did not represent the poor of the province. 

“It has been very hard to get to this point for this province. And I know you can unite if you want. There are many comrades in this province, either in the metro and even in the rural areas, who have been at the helm of leadership. If you talk among yourselves, find sanity. You will unite,” he said. 

Mbalula said some ANC leaders were already looking towards the party’s 2027 conference. He said while many were looking at Phala Phala as a means to their upward leadership goals, the party leaders decided not to sacrifice President Cyril Ramaphosa.  

“We’ve got rules in the ANC, and checks and balances. We will decide if the president has to step aside at some point because he’s got to answer from a point of accountability. He will step aside [if the party decides he must]. There’s no problem. The president will step aside so there’s no crisis. There is no crisis of leadership in the ANC.” 

The conference is expected to conclude on Sunday with Ramaphosa delivering the closing address. 

“So comrades, Phala Phala, all of those issues have been processed as we speak,” said Mbalula. 

The ANC has failed to release its report on Phala Phala despite Mbalula’s assertions. Its own integrity committee’s draft report, which was leaked to the media, found that the Phala Phala scandal had brought the party into disrepute. 

Mbalula also criticised Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for his recent statements that parliament was incapable of stopping state capture, should unscrupulous characters again try to perpetrate such. 

“Judges are not demagogues, it’s like Judge Zondo now. He’s got an opinion week in and week out, which is fine about him, that certain things must be done and all of that. But we must respect separation of powers, because he has done what he was supposed to do (the state capture commission), and finished. He has handed over [the Zondo report] to other organs to do their job. That’s it. Parliament and all of that. It took him a long time to compile that report. He had to change it from time to time and ask for more and more time. So with all these crooks in the country, how will it be easy to arrest somebody overnight?” he said. 

Mbalula called for Zondo to allow the National Prosecuting Authority’s national director of public prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, to do her job. 

“What the ANC must advocate for is the strengthening of law enforcement in the country. So comrades, we are not wrong when we say let’s go back to the model of the Scorpions.”

The ANC has been known to suppress attempts at investigations by legislators that could lead to negative political exposure of its leaders. A recent example is the party using its parliamentary majority to vote against the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations made by former Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter of organised corruption at the utility — and the enabling of such — that allegedly involved at least one senior ANC politician.  

Instead, the party filed papers to sue De Ruyter for defamation after he said during a televised interview in February that the governing party viewed Eskom as a “feeding trough”, and thus benefitted from corruption at the parastatal.