ANC stalwart's son: My family accepts my move to DA

2016-06-02 16:13
Lindela Tshwete (Facebook)

Lindela Tshwete (Facebook)

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Cape Town - Lindela Tshwete, the son of late ANC politician Steve Tshwete, says most of the family is over the shock about him joining the DA and running for a seat in the City of Cape Town in the August 3 local government elections.

“Most family members have accepted it. It is a situation that is no longer negative,” Tshwete told News24 on Thursday.

Tshwete joined the Democratic Alliance in January, to the horror of some relatives who could not imagine a man raised on ANC principles crossing to the other side.

His father was a regional commander for uMkhonto weSizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, a Robben Island political prisoner for 15 years, and a minister of sport, and safety and security.

Steve Tshwete died in 2002. A municipality in Mpumalanga was named after him in recognition of his contribution to the struggle against apartheid.

Lindela Tshwete's mother Pamela Tshwete is a politician in her own right, and is the current deputy minister of water and sanitation on an ANC ticket.

His brother Mayihlome is the smooth-tweeting spokesperson for Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

The ANC regularly has stand up arguments with the DA in the National Assembly, openly calling them racist colonialists. So when Lindela joined the DA, the family was stunned.

The ANC - a changed party

For Lindela, the ANC changed from the one he grew up with. The seed was planted during the ANC’s elective conference Polokwane in 2007, when Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma contested the post of party president. The Zuma camp won, causing profound divisions in the party.

Recently, several ANC veterans, including stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, spoke out against Zuma’s leadership.

“I was one of the people who was not happy, although I stayed with the organisation,” Tshwete said in a cellphone interview while driving to Langa for some campaigning.

He received a warm welcome in the DA and felt comfortable, expecting no favours because of his political lineage.

He has come in for criticism though.

Fraud charges

He explained that when he worked for the Emalahleni municipality a new mayor was appointed, and in 2010 internal charges of fraud against everybody reporting to the municipal manager, relating to overspending on the budget, was instituted.

Tshete was one of those scheduled to face a disciplinary hearing. He claimed he was not told when his hearing would take place and so did not arrive on the day.

As a result, he was given a letter of dismissal. He challenged this at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. He said he could prove the R189 000 in question was spent on water meters and he had a paper trail to back this up.

A settlement was brokered and he was given nine months' pay. He left the municipality, and the matter was closed.

Tshwete denied any wrongdoing saying: “You don't offer payment if people are guilty.”

The ANC later fired the mayor, who blamed the decision to fire her on her support for a candidate who was battling for the premiership.

Solving service delivery problems

Tshwete's passion is to use his background as a specialist in water and environmental management to deal with the causes of service delivery protests.

With an honours degree in water and environmental management under his belt, he planned to tackle the areas in Cape Town where people were begging for water and sanitation facilities and a better environment.

He dismissed those who criticised him for joining a ''white party'' and a ''party of racists'', saying: ''Someone who says that does not know the DA.''

“Yes, there are racists in the DA. But the DA is not running away from it. Whoever says there is no racism in their organisation, they are not telling the truth.”

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cape town  |  politics  |  local elections 2016

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