“The summit brought together 137 senior ANC cadres to deliberate on the state of the governing party, its current character and historical mission”
RETIRED South African National Defence Force (SANDF) general Maomela “Mojo” Motau has denied claims that his ANC cadre summit was a coup plot, saying the purpose of the gathering was deliberately distorted by those who did not want the governing party’s problems to be solved.
Maintaining that the conflict in the country was between those who wanted to maintain neo-liberalism and those who opposed it, Motau said the summit deliberated on the “mismanagement” of the ANC, the direction the governing party had taken, and who drove its agenda beyond superficial issues like leadership issues and corruption.
He spoke to Independent Media following the conclusion of the meeting in Pretoria last week.
This came as two ANC sources said this week that Motau and his delegation were expected to meet with the ANC’s top six officials – who include President Cyril Ramaphosa, his deputy David Mabuza and secretary-general Ace Magashule – at Luthuli House to present its 30-page report and recommendations.
They said the group had already met with Magashule, his deputy Jessie Duarte and treasurer general Paul Mashatile over the past two weeks to raise their concerns.
The former chief of defence intelligence said contrary to coup claims, the meeting was the first ANC cadre summit since the 1968 gathering which resulted in the watershed Morogoro national conference the following year.
He said it brought together 137 senior ANC cadres to deliberate on the state of the governing party, its current character and historical mission. Motau said former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe were invited as “cadres of the movement” but failed to attend.
While Motau would not reveal the resolutions before their meeting with Luthuli House on Wednesday, he said the reasons for the establishment of the Zondo Commission, which he claimed was being used to do police work as part of an agenda to “destroy the confidence of the African people in themselves”, were also reflected upon, among others.
“So it is the ANC cadre summit. It was not an SANDF summit. Some people were silly because they wanted to stop it. They started calling it the SANDF cadre assembly to interfere in ANC matters. We believe they forced the SANDF to issue a statement, which was unlawful, because it tried to give an unlawful order to members of the SANDF.
“They issued that statement to sabotage and stop the meeting. We actually said, ‘no, we can’t stop’ because if we did, they would go around saying, you see, we foiled a plot to coup the government,” Motau said.
This came after SANDF boss, General Solly Shoke issued a statement last week warning members against attending “a purported meeting to discuss petty party political matters”. SANDF spokesperson Colonel Louis Carstain on Saturday referred questions to his colleague, Siphiwe Dlamini, who failed to respond to calls and a text message.
Motau denied claims that his summit resolved that the ANC top six officials should step aside, saying the governing party was in a crisis because members chose to discuss individuals rather than party problems.
“They discuss who must be removed. From the time we started removing Mbeki, Zuma and now people are coming together trying to remove Cyril, the question is, after all those experiences we had, did we solve the problems of the ANC?” Motau asked.
“We were asking ourselves, why is this element of corruption being brought to the front? Why is this phenomenon of the Zondo Commission being peddled as THE, you know? We looked at these things from a broader perspective of saying indeed the ANC is facing a challenge. How do we understand these challenges in terms of how they impact our country? Is the real cause the fact that Africans are really corrupt?
“Is the real cause whether Africans are not capable of governing? We went into that analysis and came to conclusions, and we actually prepared a 30-page document for submission to the ANC top six on Wednesday.”
‘Zondo probe targets Africans’
He added that opponents of the summit thrived on ANC crises. “There are people who are not seriously interested in solving the problems of the ANC. It’s clear because the conflict in SA today is between those who want to maintain neo-liberalism and those who are fighting against it. You hear people saying the ANC must be a modern political party. What is a modern political party?”
Ramaphosa spokesperson Tyron Seale referred all enquiries to ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe, who confirmed that Luthuli House had already held three meetings with Motau and his delegation.
“There is no meeting that is scheduled as yet. But there have been three meetings with them, their concerns are being listened to, and lastly the president has not been present in any of the meetings with them,” Mabe said.
Motau also accused the Zondo Commission of being part of an agenda to destroy African people. “It is part of the agenda to destroy the confidence of the African people in themselves. We were pressured and we gave into the Zondo Commission. The question is, would I have liked to hide corruption in the government? I would say no! Why don’t you investigate and arrest?
“Why do you want a Zondo Commission to pinpoint? People know that there might have been a problem with the asbestosis tender which is now the main driver of arrests. So any time when there are crimes in SA we are going to appoint a commission before we arrest people? Is it a normal practice in the world?”
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi referred all enquiries to Zondo Commission spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemela.
“The question must be directed to the commission spokesperson. I also believe the second question [why wait for suspects to appear at the Zondo Commission before arresting them] resides with the commission. They are better placed to answer suffice to say we have a cordial working relationship with the commission and whatever support they require they will be afforded as such,” Mulaudzi said.
After being contacted telephonically for comment on Saturday, Stemela requested the questions in writing but failed to respond.
This comes after a joint operation between the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) led to the arrests of seven suspects implicated in corruption.
The suspects were nabbed in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State this week in connection with a R250 million asbestos contract.
Businessman Edwin Sodi, former Free State Human Settlements MEC Matawana Olly Mlamleli, former head of department Nthomotse Mokhesi, supply chain director Mahlomola Matlakala, former director general of the national Human Settlements Department Thabane Zulu, Sello Radebe and Kgotso Manyoke appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court this week.
In a separate case, the Hawks arrested Durban businessman Thoshan Panday and senior KZN police officer Navin Madhoe on Friday in connection with a R47 million 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup tender.
It is believed that the Hawks were also pursuing former KZN police commissioner General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, for allegedly stopping a probe into the matter during her tenure.