As the ANC moves to boot Carl Niehaus out of Luthuli House for violating the party’s code of conduct, theUmkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association has assured him that his job as their spokesperson is not on the line.
AS THE ANC moves to clip the wings of Carl Niehaus, one of the senior employees in the office of the secretary-general, the veteran leader will still have a political job.
This is as the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) said his job as its spokesperson – and by extension, national executive committee member – is safe.
On Tuesday the ANC’s general manager, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, notified Niehaus that the party intended to suspend him from his duties for violating its code of conduct.
She gave him 48 hours to show cause why he should not be placed on suspension (on full pay) pending a hearing.
What appears to be the last straw was a personal press statement issued by Niehaus on January in which Niehaus lampooned the ruling party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte.
Duarte incurred the wrath of Niehaus (who started working under Ace Magashule in March 2019) after telling JJ Tabane of eNCA that she wouldn’t respond to statements made by the MKMVA spokesperson because he was “not an elected leader of the ANC”.
The ANC said Niehaus had crossed the line.
“You have been advised, on more than one occasion, that your public statements and social media posts are unbecoming of someone working in this high office, which has the primary responsibility of driving and co-ordinating the work of all structures of the ANC. You also received a written warning to this effect, on October 12, 2019.
“The latest statement, titled ’Personal Statement by Carl Niehaus about his ongoing Recovery from Covid-19 Pneumonia’, dated Thursday January 14, 2021 … crosses all boundaries expected from an ANC employee, and particularly someone of your seniority. In particular, the personal attack on the ANC deputy secretary-general in this statement is a serious violation of the ANC personnel policy manual,” reads part of the letter of intent to suspend Niehaus.
Despite this latest political setback for Niehaus, MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe said Niehaus’s job within their organisation would not be affected.
“His job as a spokesperson is safe. This matter is between him and the ANC,” Maphatsoe said.
When asked about the party’s intention to suspend him, Niehaus refused to respond.
“I do not respond to leaked letters. As a disciplined member of the ANC I will not respond in any way whatsoever in public,” he said.
Interviewed separately, political analysts Ralph Mathekga and Thabani Khumalo said the move against Niehaus was a warning that the CR17 faction was slowly circling the embattled ruling party’s secretary-general, who is seen as a senior leader of the RET (radical economic transformation) faction.
“Definitely, when they start by attacking his confidants before they go for him. So I think it’s part of a campaign to weaken Ace,” Khumalo said.
In October last year, during a war of words with Niehaus, Transport Minister and ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Fikile Mbalula publicly questioned the role of Niehaus at Luthuli House.
Mbalula alleged Niehaus was “personally employed” by Magashule, had free rein because he enjoyed his (Magashule’s) protection and that “there is a man employed at Luthuli House; his job is to march every time there is a problem”.
This is believed to be the general view of the CR17 faction, which is opposed to Magashule’s presence at Luthuli House.
Magashule referred all questions relating to the matter to the ANC’s national spokesperson, Pule Mabe. Mabe did not respond to media enquiries.