I didn't apologise for 'falsehoods' – Cronin

2016-01-18 21:29
Jeremy Cronin (Picture: Supplied)

Jeremy Cronin (Picture: Supplied)

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

Johannesburg - Deputy general secretary of the SA Communist Party, Jeremy Cronin, says he never apologised for so-called "falsehoods" he told about ANC national executive committee (NEC) meetings, which former president Thabo Mbeki accused him of.

"I apologised unqualifiedly, and I stand by that apology but what I apologised for was not for falsehoods and all those things he [Mbeki] is now claiming, but I apologised for having talked rather too freely about things that had happened in previous NECs and allowed that to be published,"  he told News24 on Monday.

"I stand by that apology; it was wrong of me to talk out of confidential [meetings]."

Cronin, who is also deputy minister of public works, was responding to the second of an instalment of letters by Mbeki which are being published every Monday by the former president's foundation.

In the second letter, titled 'When your position can't be sustained, create a scarecrow – the menace of post apartheid South Africa', Mbeki wrote about Cronin's "communication of fabrications concerning the workings of the NEC".

Read the full letter here

Mbeki was referring to an interview Cronin had with Irish academic, Dr Helena Sheehan, which was later discussed at a NEC meeting in August 2002.

The former president wrote Cronin had said during the interview, among other things, that, "there is bullying of the left" in the alliance, and that "there are tendencies now of what some of us refer to as the Zanufication of the ANC. You can see features of that, of a bureaucratisation of the struggle…".

Cronin on Monday explained that he had had the discussion with Sheehan almost 18 months before the August 2002 NEC meeting and that he was not aware that it was for publication.

"Part of my mistake was not being clear enough about that. I spoke quite openly to this person who shared the same political views, a left-winger from Ireland, who had been active in the anti-apartheid struggle and so on," he said.

Cronin said he had subsequently learnt from someone working in intelligence at the time that they had picked up on a transcript of the interviews which had been published and that Mbeki was made aware of it.

Intelligence sat on the interviews

"They sat on the interviews, state intelligence, until the NEC in 2002. The interviews were the year before," he said.

In July 2002 the interview was played out in the media just before the SACP's elective congress.

"Clearly this was an attempt, and as I learnt from the informant... that they had briefed Mbeki about what they had picked up and deliberately sat on it until a week before the SACP congress in July 2002 with the intention of damaging me, so they thought, in the congress.

"Of course it backfired because what I was reported to have said in the newspapers... rang a very strong bell with the congress, and the delegates at the congress, so I got more support and got re-elected as the deputy secretary," said Cronin.

He said it was clear that this had been orchestrated by Mbeki and there was an "orchestrated attack" against Cronin at the 2002 NEC meeting.

Stands by claims of intimidation

To this day Cronin stands by his claims that there was intimidation and bullying under Mbeki.

"During the Mbeki leadership there was a pattern of attempting to silence people, intimidate them and so on and I'm proud to say we didn't allow that to happen, but it obviously made things very difficult."

Cronin could not say why Mbeki was releasing this information now. "It is a bit bewildering as to why he's doing this and it's really quite sad for the former president.

"I think there is an attempt to settle political scores, not against me but I think more against a collective of people who increasingly became critical of the Mbeki presidency and which led to the ANC NEC recalling him,"  said Cronin.

Read more on:    jeremy cronin  |  thabo mbeki

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.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

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.