Former Minister of Public Service and Administration Ramatlhodi Ngoako says he regrets helping President Jacob Zuma to power.
Ngoako, who was axed last month alongside other ministers, including Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, said those who supported Zuma, against former President Thabo Mbeki must now take responsibility for the crisis going on in the country – including himself.
He recalled how he publicly supported Zuma and spoke against Mbeki, thinking Mbeki was ill-treating him at the time. Now, Ngoako said he regrets all that.
“I went to Pietermaritzburg [to attend Zuma’s corruption trial every day with Comrade Kgalema [Motlanthe] … Look, I think we were angry at the time.
My feeling was he was being unfairly treated. He was stopped from being president [and they were] using legal process. I was at the forefront of it … we have to accept what we did when we did it,” he said.
Last month, the former minister, who has been longing to disassociate himself from Zuma’s scandal-plagued government expressed happiness that, at last, President Jacob Zuma has removed him from his Cabinet.
“I’m relieved. I think we’re at a crossroads, and I hope to keep in mind the interests of the country,” he said, shortly after learning about his dismissal on March 31.
Despite being one of President Zuma’s most vocal supporters, Ramatlhodi Ngoako believes Zuma removed him because he desires to manipulate the forthcoming ANC headship election.
“I think what is happening is that the president is trying to influence the outcome of the next conference. And because he is the president he is allowed to play his card. We gave that card to him, now he is allowed to play it … I think it is the last card he had to play,” he said.
Ngoako has previously served as the minister for mineral resources before he was reshuffled by Zuma to public service and administration in 2015. He was replaced then by one of Zuma’s buddies and Free State economic development MEC Mosebenzi Zwane, as mining minister.
Like Ramatlhodi Ngoako, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema once issued an apology statement to former President Thabo Mbeki and South Africa, at large, for helping Zuma to power.
Malema, who was the leader of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) at the time, regretted that they favoured Zuma against Mbeki, pleading to Mbeki to forgive him.
Cosatu former secretary-general, Zwelinzima Vavi also echoed the same sentiment, calling on Mbeki to forgive him for aiding his removal.
Vavi, former Zuma supporter, said he believed those who supported Zuma were under some spell.
“It was like we were drinking muthi [medicine]. We were hypnotized. When we look back we say, ‘my God, what is that we drank?” he said.
Zuma emerged the new president of the African National Congress in December 2007. The announcement was greeted by an outpouring of joy and ecstatic cheering by ANC delegates at the party’s conference in Polokwane.
He defeated Thabo Mbeki, having received 2Â 329 votes against Mbeki’s 1Â 505 votes.
The position of deputy president went to Kgalema Motlanthe, who received 2Â 346 votes against the 1Â 444 votes gained by his opponent, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The position of secretary general went to Gwede Mantashe with 2Â 378 votes, beating Mosiuoa Lekota, who had 1Â 432 votes.
At the time, the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille expressed dismay at Zuma’s election as president, describing the election day as a dismal day for the ANC and for South Africa.