News Analysis

Madiba's ghost haunts Zuma on Mandela Day

Outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza on Monday called on Jacob Zuma to step down as president of the country. She said she had been receiving death threats after she called on ANC MPs to listen to their conscience when voting in a motion of no confidence against Zuma on August 8 2017.
Image: Screengrab via YouTube/TimesLIVE Outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza on Monday called on Jacob Zuma to step down as president of the country. She said she had been receiving death threats after she called on ANC MPs to listen to their conscience when voting in a motion of no confidence against Zuma on August 8 2017.

The glow of International Mandela Day has quickly faded this year with the values of forgiveness‚ courage and tolerance of diverse opinions that were being celebrated on Tuesday already in the trashcan.

The guns are out for ANC MP Makhosi Khoza‚ who lambasted President Jacob Zuma at the Future of South Africa conference on Tuesday‚ telling him he was “haunting” the nation.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Khoza’s home province‚ said its officials had been directed to “urgently and immediately institute disciplinary measures” against her.

“No ANC member‚ irrespective of the position they occupy in society‚ has the flexibility to arrogate to himself or herself the status of being a source of all wisdom. This includes comrade Makhosi Khoza‚” ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said.

“The latest public pronouncements of comrade Makhosi Khoza represented the worse form of arrogance which is completely at variance with the conduct expected from those representing the African National Congress‚” he said.

Apparently this high bar of conduct only applies to an MP speaking truth to power and not their other deployees‚ including the president‚ who have repeatedly brought the ANC into disrepute.

The ANC in KZN seemed particularly irked by the fact that Khoza was speaking at a civil society conference that saw a parade of prominent South Africans denouncing Zuma and demanding that he leave office.

The conference‚ hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and Save South Africa‚ emerged with an action plan to mobilise society against state capture and build momentum towards the motion of no confidence vote against Zuma on August 8.

The occasion of International Mandela Day was used to drive home the message that Zuma had betrayed the values and legacy of the founding fathers.

Khoza has declared that she would be voting according to conscience on the motion‚ while the ANC is strong-arming its MPs to oppose it or face sanction by the party.

On the same day that Parliament said extra security would be provided to Khoza because of numerous threats to her life‚ she dug in her heels‚ calling on Zuma to step down saying “South Africa no longer needs you‚ Mr President.”

Mandela Day also saw ANC MP and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan say that Zuma should “step aside”.

“I think that the president should move aside and let somebody take over this country and reset the course so that we can fulfil the kind of aspirations that Mandela and his generation had for South Africa‚” Gordhan said during a Radio 702 panel debate at the Lilliesleaf Farm museum.

The bold statements by the two MPs are indicative of why the ANC leadership‚ and Zuma in particular‚ fear a vote by secret ballot on the motion of no confidence.

The ruling party is struggling to contain the negative sentiment against the president and cannot threaten people with disciplinary procedures‚ as its KZN chapter is doing with Khoza‚ if it does not know who voted against Zuma.

The president’s interpretation of Mandela’s ideals was to deepen racial discord on the occasion of the former statesman’s birthday.

Speaking at a lecture in Empangeni‚ Zuma accused some people of portraying Mandela as a “better black”.

“If we debate and talk about Madiba‚ we must always engage and bear in mind that his legacy is one of the most contested today. Even some racist and most backward and reactionary formations claim to represent Madiba’s ideals‚” Zuma said.