'Why am I still in the ANC?' Khoza asks

18 August 2017 - 07:42
By Penwell Dlamini
ANC MP Makhosi Khoza.
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO ANC MP Makhosi Khoza.

ANC MP Makhosi Khoza says her removal as chairperson of the portfolio committee on public service and administration was not a surprise‚ but she is beginning to think about her future in the ruling party.

“Frankly‚ it was expected. I expected it because when we voted on August 8 2017 as the ANC‚ we decided which way we are going. Again when on Tuesday I met with Minister [Faith] Muthambi in the ANC study group … people were charging at me … part of what they were saying is that they cannot be led by moral conscience‚” Khoza said on Thursday night after participating in a Ruth First Memorial Lecture at Wits University.

“They want to be led by somebody who follows the party lines. [When that happened] I already knew that this what the ANC is going to do … I’m not surprised. I remain true to the mission of the ANC.”

Khoza’s demotion follows a vote on August 8 in the National Assembly in which President Jacob Zuma narrowly survived a motion of no confidence.

Khoza was one of a handful of ANC MPs who had publicly declared that they would support the motion. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe subsequently said there would be consequences for those who had openly stated their opposition to the party line‚ which had been to reject the motion.

Despite her axing being expected‚ Khoza said she would put a lot of thinking into her future in the coming weeks.

“I am thinking very seriously. I’m going to be thinking a lot within the next few weeks. If I have to meditate‚ I will do so. I’m going to get in touch with myself.”

Khoza‚ who has clashed with party leadership and openly criticised Zuma‚ was removed from her position by the ruling party on Thursday.

But after listing all sorts of intimidation she had endured for expressing her views‚ she indicated that she had a lot of thinking to do from now on.

“Why am I still with the ANC? I think that is the question that I’m not sure that I am able to answer it today. It is something that I’m asking myself as well.

“In fact‚ a friend of mind said: you know‚ I’m a supporter of Kaizer Chiefs. If Kaizer Chiefs tomorrow becomes a funeral parlour‚ then I will have no business with Kaizer Chiefs. To be honest with you‚ that made me to think. Is this the ANC that I associated with when I was 12 years old?

“The reality of the situation is that I’m a human being. I’m a reactive phenomenon like everybody else. I do have family demands and there is so much that does affect you at a personal level. It is straining … I don’t want to lie to you.

“There is one thing that I think really breaks me – that is when they go for my children. That breaks me. You know‚ when my daughter repeatedly gets threats or she is being followed or she gets her car tyres slit or something like that‚ I don’t want to lie‚ it does get to that point. Am I now probably supporting a funeral parlour?”

Khoza’s fate as parliamentary chair seems to have been sealed this week after five ANC members who serve on her committee rebelled against her. It was revealed that the group had written to ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu expressing their unwillingness to be led by her on the committee.

On Tuesday the five boycotted a committee meeting where Muthambi‚ seen as a Zuma loyalist‚ was due to be grilled about allegations that she had irregularly appointed friends and relatives to her department.

MPs were also gunning for Muthambi after reports that she had splashed out R500‚000 of taxpayers’ money on transporting friends and family to Cape Town for her budget speech.

But Muthambi failed to appear before the committee‚ leading to MPs summoning her to come and explain herself.

Khoza said the writing appeared to be on the wall for the ANC.

“Truth be told‚ I am not sure whether we are going to be able to rescue the ANC. The reason why I’m saying that is because if you look at the Gupta leaks‚ if almost 80% of your leadership is implicated‚ what are you expecting? You are simply that lone voice there.

“Even if you are in an abusive marriage‚ sometimes it is always good to get out of that marriage when you exhausted everything else. Otherwise you get out and you become like (former ANC spokesman) Smuts Ngonyama and come back. I’m saying I have those conversations‚” said Khoza.