Mkhwebane vs Mbalula vs Zuma: A political triple threat ruffles ANC
9 March 2021 - 08:57
Fikile Mbalula has picked his side in the ANC factions battle and it is not in alignment with Mkhwebane and Zuma.
Murmurs of an internal revolt have been fuelled by recent events surrounding Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and former president Jacob Zuma.
All gloves are off – Fikile Mbalula has chosen his side in ANC war
On Monday, the minister was summoned to a Prasa board press briefing where he was expected to provide insight into the questionable appointment of CEO Zolani Matthews, a 64-year-old brought in to steer the railway service back on track.
Clearly perturbed by the mere association with malfeasance, Mbalula amplified his grumblings on Twitter. In a series of events that lifted a can of worms, the transport minister removed the hinges and went after anti-Thuma Mina factionalists.
In an interview with Newzroom Afrika, Mbalula threw his arms in frustration reflecting on the warnings he allegedly gave to the previous leadership about going to bed with the notorious Gupta family. He also hinted that Mkhwebane was under the protection of a number of top officials in the ANC.
"We warned at some point that #Guptas are going to cause us a crisis in this country. The leadership did not listen. Today we must defend the same leadership. We can't. Let it be. If we are dismissed from the #ANC let us be dismissed for the truth." – Fikile Mbalula @Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/49kckF1fVJ— Athi Mtongana (@Artii_M) March 8, 2021
"#Mkhwebane has been accused of about her failure as a Public Protector. Where do we get in to defend rogueness. How can the ANC defend that. If the ANC NEC decides that no, this Public Protector is being chased and must be defended. I will defend that position." @Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/tEbNnosQsv— Athi Mtongana (@Artii_M) March 8, 2021
Mkhwebane files crimen injuria charges against Mbalula
The tirade Mbalula went on did not slip past the public protector’s atention. On a sabbatical, she still managed to muster up the strength to file crimen injuria charges against the transport minister for labelling her a ‘hired gun’ in one of his tweets.
Mkhwebana is a hired gun not the public protector.— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) March 7, 2021
No further statements came from Mkhwebane in this regard. She, however, has bigger problems to attend to, with her impeachment case pretty much given the go-ahead by a 119-page report issued by an independent panel of legal experts.
ANC at loggerheads with what to do with Zuma
With all of this turmoil brewing in the structures of the ruling party, Zuma has maintained his calm. The former president was scheduled for a sit-down with the ANC’s Top 6 at Luthuli House.
However, according to seasoned reporter Samkele Maseko, Zuma changed plans in the 11th-hour and opted for a virtual meeting instead.
Former President #JacobZuma met with @MYANC officials today virtually. There was confusion in the morning when the former President didn’t arrive at Luthuli House. Zuma has also missed the deadline to file responding affidavits at the constitutional court. #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/1xjE2gwDpo— #TheLordOfTheMedia (@samkelemaseko) March 8, 2021
The outcomes of that meeting were laid out by Magashule who, in no uncertain terms, made it clear that Zuma had no interest in following the party’s recommendations.
The ANC conceded to the former president’s defiance and resolved to “leave it to him on whether he will attend the State Capture Inquiry.”
“He is still consulting with his lawyers,” Magashule said.
And so, the stalemate continues. Right now, Mbalula is the only top official who has openly stated his allegiance to Cyril Ramaphosa who, in all of this, has kept out of the media.
Mkhwebane, we expect, will return to her office on 31 March 2021, with a fierce fight-back response to the events that unfolded against her, in her absence.
And Zuma? Well, the former president, a true chess mastermind, continues to plot his next move, as seen in this image showing him in conversation with his legal team.
Long awaited Top 6— Dudu Zuma-Sambudla (@DZumaSambudla) March 8, 2021
Meeting took place. @PresJGZuma briefs his Legal Team on the outcomes of the meeting.
Wonder What Top 6 said to @PresJGZuma about InZondo Commission. Wonder if uncle Zondo will recuse himself? pic.twitter.com/bHPDio0BT6