Extract: Mangaung: Kings and Kingmakers

2012-11-19 08:02

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

What does the national conference of the ANC mean for the average South African? Mandy Rossouw explains, in easy and engaging fashion, how Zuma replaced Mbeki, how we got from the shock at Polokwane to daggers drawn at Mangaung - and who got us here. Here's an extract from Mangaung: Kings and Kingmakers.

For a moment during his speech at Gallagher Estate in June, President Jacob Zuma stopped, looked across the room and said: “I’m looking you in your face and telling you, don’t get involved here.” The conference room of 3 500 people fell silent. This was Zuma’s moment to show that this conference was his, and he wasn’t about to let anyone spoil it.

In his line of vision was the ANC’s newest structure, the Veterans’ League. This is made up of older comrades who featured in the struggle but were not necessarily Umkhonto we Sizwe fighters. They are mostly inziles, who formed the League in 2007 at the Polokwane conference. Back then its significance was not clear. On the face of it, it was simply a voting bloc resuscitated by Tokyo Sexwale, who at that stage thought he could become president of the ANC. Once Sexwale realised his presidential campaign was hopeless and threw his weight behind Zuma, little more was heard about the Veterans’ League. They received an office in Luthuli House and their president Sandi Sejake became an ex officio member of the national executive committee – the ANC’s highest decision-making body between conferences – and was given voting rights at these meetings, but for the most part the Veterans’ League was seen and not heard, and that apparently was the way Zuma liked it.

But then Sejake started to raise his voice against Zuma, at first quietly and diplomatically, and later more boldly. At issue was Zuma’s lifestyle and friends. The Veterans’ League was deeply disturbed when the news broke of Zuma fathering a child out of wedlock with the daughter of his close friend Irvin Khoza.

At the time, the ANC was dumbfounded as to what they should do. On one hand the outcry in the country about the behaviour of the president – the same man who was the chief patron of the Moral Regeneration Movement at one stage – could not be ignored. On the other hand, how do you talk to an elder who happens to be the president about bedroom politics? Despite the delicacy of the situation, the Veterans’ League took it upon itself to make it known that Zuma’s behaviour was unacceptable and a while later Zuma apologised to the nation. This was the second time Zuma had had to apologise about having extramarital sex with the daughter of a friend.

But the Veterans’ League had more beef with Zuma. The relationship between Zuma and the well-known and well-moneyed Gupta family was a source of great concern for Sejake and his ilk. Zuma’s twin children, Duduzile and Duduzane, had been invited to join the board of Sahara, a large computer company owned by the Gupta family. Duduzane Zuma had also, with the Guptas as his partners, secured a lucrative iron-ore tender that would have made him an overnight billionaire. The public outcry was, however, too loud and too vociferous to contain. Now the case is in court and the Gupta deal is off, but at the time the Veterans’ League felt that the president should not be seen to be so closely identified with a family that is so brazen about using its influence.

The reason for the Veterans’ League’s concern can be understood through an uncorroborated account of an NEC meeting, where a tearful Fikile Mbalula is said to have begged Zuma to tell him why the Guptas had told Mbaks – as Mbalula is known to his friends – that he was tipped for higher office than the deputy minister of police (which he was at the time). Mbalula would surely have been thinking that decisions of this nature were only made within the ANC, not in consultation with “outsiders”. If the Guptas had such levels of influence, it signalled that the ANC president had made the Guptas, not the ANC, his chief advisors. Other politicians have similar stories to tell – implying the Guptas either have irregular access to the president’s thinking or play a role in it. Both options send chills down many people’s spines.

- Extracted from Mangaung: Kings and Kingmakers by Mandy Rossouw (Kwela Books). Available from bookshops nationwide. Buy a copy now on Kalahari.com.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

Partner Content
What all investors should know about index investing

Index-linked investments are growing fast in popularity globally, and are growing in size and complexity too.


Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!

Hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online.



WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
11 animals before and after they were adopted from shelters
Competition pet grooming – creative or too extreme?
5 Celebrities who are afraid of animals
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.