Mthembu’s appointment as ANC’s new chief whip has drawn many assertions. Opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said the party is confident that ANC ‘s new chief whip would live up to expectations.
The party’s Mbuyiseni Quintin Ndlozi said although Mthembu had some “weaknesses”, he urged him “to use his political seniority to provide mature guidance and sound leadership so that Parliament plays the necessary oversight and law-making role without fear or favour”.
Ndlozi said his party also hopes that “Mthembu would be able to concede to superior logic during debates and deliberations in his new job not bulldoze illegal and partisan positions that cannot stand the test of law”.
The party, whose view about the new chief whip differs from other opposition parties, postulated that “Mthembu is politically senior enough to provide political guidance to most of the African National Congress’ (ANC) wayward members of Parliament and the executive.”
The Democratic Alliance reacted to Mthembu’s appointment, saying the appointment was “not expected” considering Mthembu’s “chequered past”.
The DA’s whip in the National Assembly‚ John Steenhuisen‚ asserted that it was a “very interesting appointment as…Mr Mthembu has had a rather chequered past in public life…but obviously we look forward to a robust exchange”.
On the other hand, Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem stated that the party is not “impressed” in any way with Mthembu’s appointment because “there are more suitable and credible people among the members of parliament but Jackson Mthembu is not one of them.”
Bloem stated that “Cope sees it as another deployment as a favour to a cadre that is a praise-singer to the president. They want to consolidate their position.”
Meanwhile, the ANC has expressed strong confidence that “Comrade Mthembu will discharge‚ with distinction‚ his responsibilities of overseeing the political and administrative functioning of the ANC caucus to support the ANC’s programmes and policies”.
The party’s Zizi Kodwa also hopes he will bring his “vast experience to the position of chief whip”. Kodwa noted that Mthembu has been an MP since 1994‚ “before he was deployed back to Mpumalanga where he served as member of the Provincial Executive Council in the Provincial Government and later Chief Whip then Speaker in the Provincial Legislature”.
Kodwa added that the ANC wishes Comrade Jackson Mthembu well in his new role and called on all MPs to provide him support in the execution of his duties.
His political career made headlines when he gave an interview from behind bars after he was arrested while driving on the wrong side of a Cape Town road under the influence of alcohol.
Again, in 2012, Mthembu responded to a Sunday newspaper’s report on a painting at the Goodman Gallery by artist Brett Murray, depicting President Jacob Zuma with exposed genitals.