‘Nkandla not to blame’

2014-12-22 00:00

NKANDLA and President Jacob Zuma’s failure to answer questions about it in Parliament are not an albatross around the ANC’s neck.

So said the party’s secretary-general yesterday after reviewing the year.

He denied the Nkandla issue was the reason the ANC’s support, especially in Gauteng, dropped in the 2014 general election.

In a telephonic interview, Mantashe ascribed the decline to the bungled introduction of e-tolling instead.

He told sister paper Beeld that processes were followed with the Nkandla issue. “It is important that we educate the public about the processes and that those processes be given space,” he said.

Asked if Zuma is afraid to answer questions on the issue in Parliament, Mantashe blamed the opposition parties.

“I don’t think there is anyone who declined to answer questions, but what we saw was that the opposition parties derailed the process and made people who were supposed to answer questions the victims of their thuggery, mischievousness and anarchy.

“Parliament has rules and control can only be maintained when the rules are followed to the letter,” he said.

On the ANC’s criticism of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Nkandla in March, Mantashe said the ANC respects her and her office.

“But if a person’s behaviour is out of order, we will say so. We will, for example, always say it is wrong if her reports are leaked to the media before those involved hear of them.

“The public protector is a serious organisation, and it’s not about publicity and getting media attention.”

Mantashe said he didn’t think Nkandla was the reason why middle-class Gauteng voters turned away from the ANC.

“I don’t think the middle class is concerned about Nkandla, but rather about e-tolling, which hits their pockets directly.

“One thing that always keeps the ANC’s head above water is that the party’s roots are among the people.

“In Gauteng, we will keep talking to the people about their grievances and trying to find solutions.”

On a report in Friday’s Mail & Guardian, where Mantashe said the ANC was in danger of losing power, he said he meant the party has to guard against attacks on it.

“It has happened with other liberation movements that govern other African countries.”

He said such attacks, as elsewhere in Africa, are financed by foreigners, because “the feeling in the West is that liberation movements have been in power for too long”.

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