Tshwete family 'in shock' as eldest son snubs ANC

24 January 2016 - 02:00 By BABALO NDENZE

The late ANC stalwart Steve Tshwete's eldest son has joined the DA and will be running to be a Cape Town councillor in the local government elections.

Fifty-seven-year-old Lindela Tshwete's decision to cross the floor has been met with shock and dismay by members of his family, who include his stepmother, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation Pam Tshwete, and his half-brother, Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete.

Lindela, an anti-apartheid activist in his own right in the 1980s, says he joined the DA because he has a lot to offer .


"I was active in Mpumalanga. I was involved in the ANC. After that I was a resource manager for a long time. I have a lot of experience in water and environmental management."

He declared himself in support of DA policies and ready for DA politics.

"For example, if you look at Mmusi Maimane's speech [on racism] this week, he talks on the land issue. Even on the economy, he was quoting from the Freedom Charter. So change can happen."

His father - who served as sport minister and as police minister under presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki - was a fierce critic of the DA in parliament.

When the Democratic Party briefly merged with the New National Party to form the DA, his father called the new party a "coalition of racists". He accused the leader at the time, Tony Leon, of having been "a praise singer" for the apartheid-era defence force.

But Lindela said this week that although he was "born in the ANC", he now considered the DA his political home.

He was arrested along with now Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas in 1988 while trying to skip the country and join the then banned ANC.


"Prior to that I was in the UDF. I was in the King William's Town unit. So I was an activist and ended up in ANC," said Lindela.

His lounge has pictures of his father with the likes of Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. He once owned Thangani's Place in Midrand, popular for braais and drinks.

Pam Tshwete was dumbstruck when asked for comment. "I am really so shocked. I can't really comment, I have nothing to say, but it's shocking...

"It is a disappointment for the Tshwete family."

Mayihlome was equally taken aback. "I did get a text from my brother ... on the matter of employment. I do think he's in a desperate place. There are two desperations here, one is financial and the other is the desperation of the DA to have someone [with the Tshwete surname]."

Western Cape DA leader and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said: "We are living in the new South Africa. His father fought for the right of freedom of association."