In a recent speech, Bheki Mtolo, the KwaZulu-Natal ANC secretary, took a dig at former South African President Jacob Zuma, using analogies related to rape and the Nkandlagate scandal.
Mtolo criticized the response to those who speak the truth, stating that they are often labeled and called names. He drew a parallel between speaking the truth and a rape victim pointing out their assailant, emphasizing the need to separate insults from the truth.
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During his speech at the Inkosi Bhambatha region, Mtolo addressed the internal scrutiny faced by ANC national secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, who had accused party leaders of lying and protecting Zuma during the Nkandla scandal.
Some party members believed that Mbalula’s comments had a negative impact on the party during the election season. Mtolo’s use of the rape analogy hits close to home when it comes to Zuma, as the former president was accused of rape in 2005.
Zuma was acquitted of the charges in 2006. Mtolo highlighted that some ANC members still protect Zuma’s “wrongdoings” and justified his criticism of the governing party during campaigns under his new party, Umkhonto we Sizwe.
Expressing his disappointment, Mtolo stated, “There are some members who have not accepted that Msholozi is no longer an ANC member.
It is painful because he goes all over the country insulting the president [Cyril Ramaphosa], calling him a traitor and everything else. Those who still love him justify his wrongdoings by saying ‘he is too old’ but fail to reprimand him.”
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Mtolo seemed unfazed by Zuma’s new party adventure, stating, “He took the decision out of stupidity, thinking KZN people would support him. Though we supported Msholozi for a long time, we later saw his wrongdoings. Let’s tell the truth.”
He further argued that the ANC had started losing support in 2009, during Zuma’s presidency, rather than after Ramaphosa took charge. Mtolo believed that Zuma owed the ANC and Ramaphosa an apology, as he had left the party weaker than when he had taken over from Thabo Mbeki.
Reflecting on Zuma’s hometown of Nkandla, Mtolo claimed that Zuma did not receive much support from the people there because they saw him as selfish. He mentioned that the only significant project Zuma undertook in Nkandla was building his own home, which further alienated him from the community.
Comparing Ramaphosa’s leadership to Zuma’s, Mtolo argued that the ANC had delivered more to its constituency under Ramaphosa’s tenure. He pointed out that Zuma had been repeatedly urged to establish a National Health Insurance but had failed to do so.
Mtolo praised Ramaphosa for his efforts in signing the NHI and implementing a basic income grant and minimum wage, stating that Ramaphosa was the true champion of the poor.
Zuma’s public criticism of the ANC began in late 2018 when he announced that he would not campaign for the party or vote for it, claiming that it was “not the ANC I joined.” This statement sparked a debate about the state of the ANC during Zuma’s nine-year presidency before he was forced to resign in February 2018.
Bheki Mtolo’s speech criticizing Jacob Zuma and using rape and Nkandlagate analogies has stirred controversy within the ANC. Mtolo’s emphasis on speaking the truth and separating insults from the truth highlights the ongoing tension within the party and the need for accountability and transparency.
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