Makhosi Khoza fears for her kids' safety

2017-05-21 05:50
Dr  Makhosi Khoza (Jan Gerber, Netwerk24)

Dr Makhosi Khoza (Jan Gerber, Netwerk24)

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While senior parliamentarian Makhosi Khoza was able to address a Durban book launch on Thursday despite threats from the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), the outspoken ANC MP was unable to go home to visit her children because of fears that she would be attacked.

Khoza’s Hillcrest address was distributed on social media this week by the ANCYL’s eThekwini region. The league had called on its members to picket the house where the Parliament-based single mother’s children live. Khoza told City Press on Friday she had been advised to stay away “because harm was in my way if I were to do so”.

Khoza believes that the league’s threats and vitriol against her have resulted in a state of “rage” against her, which, given the volatile nature of KwaZulu-Natal politics, could turn deadly.

Khoza came under attack from the ANCYL over her stance on the proposed vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma in Parliament and her comments on social media.

They had called for the picketing of her house and disruption of the launch of the book, Making Africa Work, hosted by the Durban-based Xubera Institute for Research and Development, at which Khoza had been scheduled to speak.

The ANCYL had earlier called on the governing party’s national leadership to recall Khoza, who had publicly stated her preference for a secret ballot to allow ANC MPs to “follow their conscience” in voting during a proposed motion of no confidence in Zuma.

The threat and call for pickets were withdrawn after KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala intervened and called the ANCYL region – whose members were allegedly involved in assaulting a DA member after a protest march in Durban calling for Zuma to stand down – to order.

The book event went ahead, but only after a lengthy delay and a shift of venue to ensure the safety of not only Khoza, but also that of guest speaker Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian head of state.

Several police vehicles were parked outside the beachfront Maharani Hotel, where the launch took place, and two members of the police’s tactical response team were visible at its entrance throughout the evening.

"A difficult time"

Khoza told City Press of the pressure of being targeted by members of her own organisation, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, where she was born and raised.

“It’s been a difficult time, especially because you are under pressure from different angles. One understands this, especially in an environment where there is so much dependence on patronage and where people are thinking about their own survival,” said Khoza.

“What has happened is unprecedented, with even my home address being distributed on social media. [While] they withdrew the statement, the rage against me has remained.

“It wasn’t nice to come down to Durban and not be able to go back home. Although they withdrew the threat and didn’t picket, I had grounds to believe that harm was in my way if I had gone home,” she said.

“Having grown up in an environment in KwaZulu-Natal where one lost friends and comrades and family members to political violence ... this sort of threat is real and serious,” Khoza said.

Khoza said while she had concerns for her own safety and had received a series of death threats, she feared for her children more as she lived in Cape Town, where she sits on the National Assembly’s standing committee on finance, and not in the Durban house whose address had been circulated.

“I have my own concerns, but I fear for the safety of my children. I am a single mother and they mean everything to me,” she said.

Khoza, who holds a PhD in administration and a master’s degree in social science, said she would continue with her course of action as she “owed this country something”.

“I cannot be silent when I am beginning to see the symptoms of a society on a downward spiral. I have that responsibility, not just to my political party, but to society as a whole,” she said.

“I honestly cannot comprehend how one divorces moral conscience from one’s political choices and decisions,” she added.

“If the ANC is going to dissociate itself from moral conscience, then we are saying that we are consenting to immoral or amoral activities. That is something that does not sit well with me.”

Khoza, who has served as a public representative for more than 20 years in various capacities, first started receiving death threats after her televised grilling of former communications minister Faith Muthambi during Parliament’s SABC inquiry earlier this year.

The SA Police Service did not respond to enquiries about Khoza’s security concerns and what steps were being taken to safeguard her.

Read more on:    anc  |  makhosi khoza

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