South Africa News

ANC gags Fikile Mbalula over Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla fire pool comments

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has reportedly been gagged by the governing party following his comments on the Nkandla fire pool at the homestead of former President Jacob Zuma.

Mbalula dropped a bombshell this month while addressing members of the ANC at the Mjindi Town Hall in Barberton, when he admitted that members of the ruling party had lied to parliament about the fire pool at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead to protect the former president.

According to national executive committee (NEC) insiders, the ANC’s highest decision-making body believed Mbalula was campaigning against the party,” a local publication reported.

Not the boss

The members said there was a strong view within the NEC that Mbalula must be given guidelines before he was allowed to talk to the media.

“We think he forgets that he is not our boss. The boss is the NEC, and the president is the main boss; we will discuss it at the next NEC because we believe he is ‘de-campaigning’ the ANC. The office [of the secretary-general] is the highest office, and he must respect that,” the insiders reportedly said.

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe criticised Mbalula for his comments saying the SG excited by the presence of journalists at the meeting when he made the remarks about Zuma.

Mantashe said Mbalula “said things he should not have said” when he publicly admitted that the governing party lied to Parliament and South Africans in defence of Zuma over the 2014 Nkandla scandal.

“I listened very carefully to what the secretary-general said. He is my secretary-general. I thought he was carried away by yourself, guys. He saw the cameras and got taken away and said things he should not have said,” said Mantashe.

ANC protocols

However, Mbalula did not take the criticism lying down and took a swipe at Mantashe saying the ANC had protocols.

“The national chair, we have protocols. I have been trying to get hold of him [Mantashe] the whole day, but I understand we’re in the field and I couldn’t get hold of him. We’ve got protocols, we don’t talk past each other we don’t talk in the media and we don’t promote public spats,” said Mbalula.

North-West University political analyst Prof Andre Duvenhage said Mbalula, “a loyalist of Ramaphosa”, was trying to safeguard Ramaphosa using an “extremely counterproductive” approach which would not benefit the ANC or the president.

Duvenhage said this was just one of Mbalula’s announcements that were problematic.

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