Bheki Mtolo takes a dig at Jacob Zuma, uses rape, Nkandlagate analogies

23 January 2024 - 19:12
ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo criticises Jacob Zuma's presidency, saying it harmed the ANC. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo criticises Jacob Zuma's presidency, saying it harmed the ANC. File photo.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC secretary Bheki Mtolo used a rape victim analogy saying people “who speak the truth get labelled and called names”. He said this during a speech in which he criticised Jacob Zuma’s presidency. 

“When you tell the truth they say you are insulting, arrogant and disrespectful. If a little girl gets raped by an old man and the child points out the old man and says he is a rapist, she is not insulting him, but she is pointing out a rapist. Let us separate insults from the truth,” Mtolo said.

He was speaking   at Inkosi Bhambatha region at the weekend after ANC national secretary-general Fikile Mbalula received scrutiny internally for saying party leaders lied and protected Zuma during the Nkandla scandal. Some party members believed Mbalula’s comments put the party in a dilemma and had a negative impact during the election season.

Mtolo’s reference to the  rape analogy hits close to home when it comes to Zuma, as the former president was accused of rape by late Fezekile “Khwezi” Kuzwayo in 2005.

Zuma was acquitted of charges on raping the then 31-year-old by the Johannesburg High Court in 2006.

Mtolo said some ANC party members still protected Zuma’s “wrongdoings” and justified his critic of the governing party during campaigns under his new party adventure, Umkhonto we Sizwe party. 

“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,” he said. 

Mtolo seemed unfazed by Zuma’s new party adventure saying: “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. 

“We lost a lot of votes. The ANC won elections in 1994 when Mandela was a candidate. In 1999 it received more votes when Thabo Mbeki ran for presidency. In 2004, ANC got 69%, then it went down in 2009.

“This thing of saying ANC support went down since Ramaphosa took charge is lies. ANC started losing support in 2009 when Zuma was the president,” he said. 

IEC ANC vote stats from 1999; 

  • 1999: 10,6-million (66 %) 

  • 2004: 10,8-million (69.6%) 

  • 2009: 11,6 million (65.9%) 

  • 2014: 11,4 million (62%) 

  • 2019: 10, million (57,5%) 

Mtolo believed the former president owed the governing party an apology. 

“Zuma should be apologising to the ANC and Ramaphosa because he was given a strong ANC by Thabo Mbeki but he gave Ramaphosa a weak ANC. All the people who supported Zuma in 2007, where are they today? He fragmented Cosatu, removed Zwelinzima Vavi, and Julius Malema. Everybody. All those who supported Zuma are no longer his servants, who is supposed to support him?” 

The provincial secretary claimed Zuma did not receive much support from his hometown of Nkandla because people “saw he was selfish”.

“The only big project he did in Nkandla was building his home, hence he never got any support from Nkandla. People from Nkandla never related to Jacob Zuma because they saw him as a man for himself and for his family.” 

Mtolo said under Ramaphosa’s leadership the ANC had delivered more to its constituency than during Zuma’s tenure. 

“Zuma was told conference after conference to establish a National Health Insurance but he did nothing. Ramaphosa is about to sign the NHI but he is accused of not favouring the poor. A basic income grant is going to happen under Ramaphosa

“A minimum income wage was declared under Ramaphosa, now tell me who is the champion of the poor between the two. What Jacob Zuma has started to do is dangerous to himself, he won’t match us. We did everything for him.” 

Zuma’s war-of-words with the ANC started late last year when he announced he would not campaign for the governing party, nor would he vote for it, saying it was “not the ANC I joined”.

“It is not the ANC I joined; it will be a betrayal to campaign for the ANC of [president Cyril] Ramaphosa. My conscience will not allow that,” he said. 

Zuma’s statement sparked debate on the state of the ANC when he was at the helm for nine years before being forced to resign in February 2018 as president of the country.