She called for the ANC NEC to act in a scathing letter to secretary-general Ace Magashule
Pretoria – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has rejected Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s apology, saying his “despicable behaviour” should be dealt with by the ANC top six officials and the national executive committee (NEC).
In a scathing letter addressed to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, Dlamini Zuma, who is also a member of the governing party’s NEC and national working committee (NWC), said Mbalula’s disparaging statements about her unsuccessful 2017 ANC presidential campaign was a reflection of “patriarchy and misogyny”.
It was also an “affront to women leaders of South Africa, the continent and world”, she added.
In the two-page letter, dated March 9, Dlamini Zuma said Mbalula chose to “desecrate” International Women’s Day celebrations, by embarking on an onslaught against her and other female leaders, because he had no respect for women and political consciousness had long left him.
“Indeed, the ANC and society must feel the fury of our revolt. I am inspired by the reaction of ordinary members of our revolutionary movement, who decided to speak out against this despicable behavior of Minister Mbalula. I request you to share this letter with the ANC National Officials, and also suggest that we have a dedicated discussion during the upcoming NEC meeting on the issue of the emancipation of women,” she wrote.
“I have trust in the leadership to take the minister to task, in the interest of our revolution and struggle for a non-sexist South Africa, where women are emancipated and equal.”
She said she decided not to respond to Mbalula in the media, in order to give the ANC leadership a chance to deal with the matter internally.
“I did not want to respond in the media because I think this matter should be discussed internally, so that we can assist our minister (and others) to regain revolutionary consciousness.”
In a Twitter rant last week, Mbalula, who is also an ANC NEC member, attacked Dlamini Zuma, insinuating that she had vied for the party’s job at the behest of her former husband, ex-president Jacob Zuma, who had wanted to create a family dynasty in the ANC. He also referred to Dlamini Zuma as Zuma’s “wife” even though the two political heavyweights, who have children together, divorced more than 20 years ago.
Mbalula, who supported Dlamini Zuma before the 2017 Nasrec ANC elective national conference but switched political allegiance to President Cyril Ramaphosa after he took over as party leader, also attacked Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, one of the presidential candidates. In another tweet, he demanded to know how much Sisulu had spent on her unsuccessful campaign.
This was after Sisulu had posted a picture of all the ANC presidential candidates, including herself, Ramaphosa, Dlamini Zuma and former Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe at a dinner Zuma hosted in 2017.
In her letter, Dlamini Zuma’s said Mbalula’s utterances flew in the face of the ANC’s gender-based policy, which states that “women are not seen as forming a society separate from men”, and that it was incumbent on men and women “to join forces to eradicate patriarchal practices and stereotypical attitudes”.
“Women and girls still suffer from triple oppression and they are burdened by unpaid care work, which is exploitative and under-valued. They are poor, hungry, unemployed and do not participate fully in the economy,” she added.
Speaking to Pretoria News on Friday morning, Mbalula said he was aware of Dlamini Zuma’s letter to Magashule because it was discussed at the NWC meeting on Wednesday.
Daring her “to do what she wants”, Mbalula said he had no idea why she was rejecting his apology, because she had initially told the NWC that she was “not aware of my apology because she’s not on social media”.
“I issued that apology voluntarily, without any duress, and that’s it. I can’t go beyond that. She must do what she wants. That matter was discussed by the NWC. But I am not a bearer of such because I also saw the letter on social media. It was not shared with the NWC. But all those issues were raised and also (spoken about). I issued my apology and withdrew that statement unreservedly on Twitter where I publicised it. Nobody called me to do it. Even the officials have never called it. Ace has never called me. He went straight to the NWC. Normally they would call people and all that, but nobody called me,” Mbalula said.
“So, it’s amazing that I should be discussed by the NEC when there is so much poverty around us and many challenges around us, and the NEC must pause and debate Mbalula. I withdrew that statement even though I believe in it, because I don’t want to even try to explain, because I said it could be misconstrued as attacking her integrity. I did that. Nkosazana didn’t have to call me and complain, or somebody, I withdrew it myself. But that letter was discussed by the NWC, I spoke, and Nkosazana spoke.”
Mbalula said Dlamini Zuma’s statement that he had lost his “revolutionary consciousness” was “her assertion”.
“If I have lost revolutionary consciousness, why would I withdraw something unreservedly? And not stand by it?”
He was referring to a statement he released after attacking Dlamini Zuma in which he said: “It is regretful and unfortunate that my comment may have come across as an attack on the person and integrity of Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, as this was never the intention.
“I therefore unreservedly apologise to Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and wish to assure her that I will keep her name out of any political battles and commentary.”
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe could not be reached for comment.