Bhekokwakhe “Bheki” Hamilton Cele, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has urged a fraction of the ANC and all anti-Zuma protesters not to rest on their oars when it comes to taking the ANC to court.
The deputy minister who related his anger toward the break-down in the ruling ANC and the officials’failed attempt to rescue the situation, said history will punish them if they failed to fight against corruption currently affecting the country through their very-own political leaders.
Bheki was addressing branches of the ANC in Umlazi on Sunday ahead of the week’s long-awaited court case against the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial structure when he said he was embarrassed by the ANC national executive committee’s failure to lead the organisation, resulting in members having to turn to the courts.
“We must be embarrassed, I am embarrassed. History will have to punish us for allowing the courts to lead us,” Bheki said who is also an NEC member.
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking this case is about certain people. It is about the ANC and its failure to lead as the ANC. The ANC NEC must accept that we are responsible for this case. We are responsible for the case in the Free State. We are failing to lead,”
The deputy’s comment was in reaction to attempt by members of the ANC in the province to have a 2015 provincial conference nullified citing irregularities in its process.
The aggrieved members insist recalling the current provincial executive committee headed Sihle Zikalala, along with the reversal of all decisions taken by them since their appointment. The case will be heard by a full bench at the Pietermaritzburg High Court from Wednesday to Friday.
Supporting their moves, Bheki said the NEC had proved repeatedly that it’s incapable of dealing with disputes brought before it by members. He said that members went to the courts because they ran out of options.
“We abandon our duties and then cry foul when we must report to judges. Your problems are not solved by the ANC NEC but by judges. What a failure. What a failure of the ANC leadership in the year 2017. We are failures, we are,” he charged.
The deputy also named the obsession with succession and positions as the agents of distraction to the ANC leadership
“I don’t care who says what, we have a divided, factional ANC. Factions start at the top with the top six. This is no longer [Oliver] Tambo’s ANC. We don’t spend time correcting things. We are busy running around saying: ‘Pick this one’ or: ‘Pick that one’.”
“Let us not allow ourselves to be confused. We have established traditions even if they are not written down,” he said, pointing out that the case must be used to unite the ANC, calling for the victors to be “humble” and to prioritise the unity of the organisation above everything else.
“If we continue to fail you, don’t stop taking us to court. Do it until we learn to lead. This thing of dismissing people who go to court, you should be saying dismiss them [the NEC] as well. I hope and wish that the next NEC leads so that the ANC does not have to rely on the courts,” Bheki said.
Without referring directly to the ANC President Jacob Zuma, Bheki said that those who benefited from the unwritten tradition suddenly took issue with it now that the same courtesy had to be extended to the current deputy president.
Bheki also said that the tradition was not a problem in 2007 when some in the ANC fought tooth and nail for the appointment of Zuma, who was embroiled in a number of legal challenges.
“There are comrades … they have a right to choose and not to be told who to choose,” he said referring to Zuma’s endorsement of former minister and African Union chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
“Nobody owns the ANC. It is the inheritance of the South African people. It is not the inheritance of one person and his people or his wife” he concluded saying.