Battle-weary Mabe quits Parliament

2017-09-03 06:00
Pule Mabe appears to have escaped unscathed after the Public Protector’s report into dodgy dealings at Prasa implicated him in a tender scandal. Picture: Lerato Maduna

Pule Mabe appears to have escaped unscathed after the Public Protector’s report into dodgy dealings at Prasa implicated him in a tender scandal. Picture: Lerato Maduna

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Pule Mabe’s resignation this week may be a sign that he is bitter after being overlooked for a Cabinet post by President Jacob Zuma – a man he has consistently and fiercely defended during his three-year tenure as an MP.

However, Mabe says his exit has been on the cards for a while and was discussed with Zuma early last year.

Mabe hangs up his gloves just two months after being deployed as whip in Parliament’s finance committee, replacing now Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen.

Insiders say that Zuma’s most recent Cabinet reshuffle could have been the last straw for Mabe, after some of his peers he served with in the ANC Youth League, including Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, were appointed to key departments.

It also emerged this week that some of his colleagues in the ANC had been vehemently opposed to him filling the position left vacant by former higher education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana, who was forced to resign after allegedly assaulting a woman at a nightclub.

City Press heard that this unfavourable view of Mabe was held even by some within the party’s national working committee.

But the former backbencher insists he is not sulking over the appointments.

Since Manana’s departure, there has been strong lobbying in the ANC Youth League for a young person to be appointed in that position.

But City Press this week discovered that Mabe sent a notice of resignation to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and ANC parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu on August 15, four days before Manana resigned from his ministerial position.

Another letter was written to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on August 28, three days before he served his last day as MP.

In the letter, Mabe points out that his was a well-thought-out decision that had been discussed over time.

“As you may be aware, this decision has been widely canvassed over a period of time and that I have made all necessary efforts to also notify members of the study group of finance, where I was deployed as whip of the committee,” he wrote.

“The other consideration to delay my long-considered decision to resign from the National Assembly was to avoid disadvantaging my party, the ANC, during the all-important motion of no confidence debate [against Zuma], which I had the privilege of participating in as ANC debater.”

Seated in a posh Sandton restaurant, a leaner looking Mabe repeatedly asks why he would be angry at being overlooked.

He insists that being appointed into Zuma’s Cabinet was not his ticket to fame.

“If I was angry, why would I have agreed to represent the ANC during the debate on the motion of no confidence? It happened right after the Cabinet reshuffle,” he said.

“If I wanted to be appointed, I would just wait for a position because there is vacancy left by Manana. If I was looking for a position, I would have just waited for that deployment.”

Mabe listed a number of instances where propaganda had been peddled about him, resulting in the loss of positions. Such was the case in 2014, when this led to the ANC Youth League elective conference collapsing amid rumours that he was buying votes.

Mabe lost out on becoming president in that gathering, which was marred by allegations of vote-buying. By the time it was reconvened, he was no longer of qualifying age to contest, paving the way for incumbent president Collen Maine to take over the reins.

Mabe said he was looking forward to helping his wife, who has been running the family businesses since he went to Parliament.

Among the many tasks that lie ahead will be to get an incubation programme that will assist entrepreneurs in communities to get up and running, he said.

Mabe would not reveal which candidate he would back to take over the ANC’s top position at the party’s conference in December.

Read more on:    pule mabe  |  parliament

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