African National Congress (ANC) head of elections Fikile Mbalula says there is nothing wrong with former party leaders helping the ruling party during elections.
Mbalula was responding to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and other reports saying former president Jacob Zuma and the party’s suspended general-secretary helped the party retain control on eThekwini municipality.
Malema said in a media briefing on Thursday afternoon that President Cyril Ramaphosa was not a skilled negotiator and claimed it was Zuma and Magashule who ensured that the ANC retained control of eThekwini metro.
Mbalula said while there was nothing wrong with former leaders helping the party, the statement was made to further divide the party.
“Now you come to us and say after hard work and everything, some of our comrades and our leaders have assisted, but you’re brandishing that deliberately because you want to divide this ANC and we must come here and denounce Zuma. If Zuma did that as our former president its okay. What’s wrong with helping the ANC? You want the ANC to fight,” said Mbalula in a media briefing.
“This thing whether Ace Magashule or whoever assisted whoever is not an issue. But you have put it in the headlights because some group that calls itself RET must feel good and we must come to a press conference and respond to Ace and Zuma. Zuma said before the elections that he would vote for ANC and called on people to vote for the party. There was no problem with that. I saw Magashule making statements that he was canvassing in the areas that he was at. It’s his own volition, why should we stop him? We didn’t mandate him because he’s suspended and was supposed to sit at home. You talk about names because you want us to be divided and fight petty battles. If Zuma did that as our former president, it’s okay. What’s wrong with helping the ANC?”
Mbalula blamed the ANC’s poor performance in KwaZulu-Natal on a number of issues including the Shembe church’s fallout with the party and the Zuma arrest.
“Our numbers have dropped in eThekwini and that is why there is a coalition. Thank you to the smaller political parties and the leadership of the province led by Sihle Zikalala. And thank you to our comrades in eThekwini, where they faced the challenge of unity within the ANC. We’re going to work on that with our comrades there. If there are other ANC leaders who assisted, it’s most welcome. We don’t have issues with that, but we know this was an outcome of days and long nights.”