In a series of startling admissions, ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula has publicly acknowledged the party’s past missteps and the controversial defense of former President Jacob Zuma. These revelations, made during various addresses in Mpumalanga, have cast a new light on the ANC’s actions during Zuma’s tenure and raised questions about the party’s future direction.
Mbalula, speaking at the ANC’s 112th birthday celebrations and other events, admitted that the party had misled Parliament in its defense of Zuma, particularly regarding the infamous Nkandla ‘fire pool’ scandal. This confession aligns with the findings of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who had declared that Zuma improperly benefited from government-funded upgrades to his Nkandla home.
The ANC’s admission of lying to Parliament to protect Zuma marks a significant shift in the party’s narrative. Mbalula expressed regret over the party’s actions, noting the personal and professional costs borne by individuals involved in the scandal. He also highlighted the Constitutional Court’s judgment, which questioned Zuma’s fitness for office, yet the ANC continued its staunch defense.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, Mbalula pointed out Zuma’s recent decision to support the newly formed Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) party in the upcoming elections, effectively turning his back on the ANC. This move, according to Mbalula, is akin to Zuma expelling himself from the party, as he openly undermines its credibility.
The ANC, now gearing up for the general elections, faces a critical juncture. Mbalula’s admissions and the party’s introspection come at a time when the ANC acknowledges not achieving all its targets and grapples with internal divisions and a tarnished public image. The party’s future success hinges on its ability to confront its past, restore public trust, and redefine its leadership and governance ethos.
As South Africa heads towards the elections, the ANC’s journey of self-reflection and accountability will be closely watched. The party’s ability to learn from its past and chart a new course will not only shape its destiny but also influence the political landscape of the nation.