We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Hopeful veteran returns to Ramaphosa's ANC

16 February 2018 - 13:08 By Siphe Macanda
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Masi Losi

Former SA Communist Party and ANC veteran Stephanie Kemp‚ who left the ANC in 2008 subsequent to the ousting of Thabo Mbeki‚ has announced that she is rejoining the party.

In a Facebook update on Thursday Kemp wrote: “I have decided to rejoin the ANC 10 years after I have resigned.” The post attracted 32 shares and hundreds of likes and comments.

Kemp announced her resignation from both the ANC and SACP in November 2008‚ asking Jacob Zuma die-hards what interests had been served by the ascendancy of the Zuma leadership at the Polokwane conference.

“No doubt many comrades‚ like me‚ find it difficult to turn our backs on the devotion we feel for the movement which sacrificed much in the struggle for the liberation of our country and its people‚” she said at the time.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Friday‚ the 77-year-old said she had left the party because of the “shocking” behaviour of some of her comrades and the scandals that Zuma was implicated in.

“I was active both in the ANC and SACP for decades until Zuma was elected. He was elected even though he was heavily implicated in wrongdoing and there was a trial against him. It wasn’t just him‚ it was everything that went with it‚” Kemp said.

She said it was very difficult and hurtful for her to take the decision to leave the SACP and ANC.

“I found myself‚ after so many years‚ with nothing to do politically‚” Kemp said.

Asked why she has rejoined the ANC‚ she said the new leadership inspires hope for both the country and the ANC.

“I did not think that I would ever rejoin the ANC. I feel now it is possible for the ANC to get back to its old self. The ANC has a strong and deep connection with the people‚” she said.

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said the ANC was humbled by the news that Kemp would be rejoining the party.

“We welcome the development. The ANC has always had an open door approach and we believe that the more‚ the better. When cadres‚ especially veterans‚ are coming back‚ that helps a lot because they pass on their wisdom and knowledge‚” Mabe said.

SACP second general secretary Solly Mapaila said that the party would welcome and appreciate the veteran’s return.

“We appreciate that our veterans who have contributed in the liberation of our country come back. They carried the movement during the most difficult times. They were the most tortured‚ the most vilified‚ and most of them spent their time in exile‚” Mapaila said.

He said the SACP had taken a resolution to integrate all of the veterans into SACP structures as they still have a huge role to play‚ including imparting their values and teachings to the new generation.

Kemp served in ANC underground structures during apartheid and was arrested in 1964. She was released in 1965 and went into exile and returned home in 1990. She has also served on the KwaZulu-Natal SACP provincial working committee.

“Without hope you cannot really change the country. I think‚ instead of sitting back and waiting to see whether everything is going to go as it promises‚ let me also be there‚” Kemp said.