Fikile Mbalula, the ANC’s head of elections, says members concerned the party may suffer at the polls due to revelations implicating its leaders at the commission of inquiry into state capture must accept that South Africans want the inquiry.
An upbeat Mbalula, who has been leading the ANC campaign in the run-up to the general elections, expected to take place in May, acknowledged that he knew some in the party were concerned about selling the liberation movement to South Africans on the back of the commission, which is set to resume later this month.
Leaders such as Nhlanhla Nene have been found wanting and have resigned following testimony at the inquiry, which is looking into claims of undue influence the politically connected Gupta family had over former president Jacob Zuma, his executive and several state-owned enterprises.
There are allegations the Gupta brothers and their associates, including Zuma’s son Duduzane, pocketed billions of rands through coercion and corruption.
The ANC — which has often denied being on trial at the Zondo commission — has come under scrutiny with its leaders being accused of intervening when banks stopped doing business with the Guptas. Its processes around deployment policies have been cause for concern, with questions raised about the blurring of lines between party and state.
“Some have expressed reservation, but they need to accept that the state capture is part of our own resolutions, that’s what comes with the bad and it needs to be probed and it can’t be fudged and put under the carpet,” Mbalula said.
He said a party that has lived as long as the ANC would experience a lot of ups and downs.
Mbalula was speaking on the sidelines of the ANC’s January 8 celebrations, marking the liberation movement’s 107th anniversary, in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.
This message is echoed in exchanges in a number of ANC-linked WhatsApp groups, with some party members saying they wish the inquiry was held after the elections.
“In our own history we are a party of the people, [this takes] state capture with it, in that it must never happen again, so you have self-respect and don’t run away from people,” said Mbalula.