Fikile Mbalula: A firebrand for all seasons

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Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Ziyanda Zweni.
Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Ziyanda Zweni.


In the history of revolutionary discourse there is a political superstition that October is a month of ground-breaking political activity either on the side of progress or retrogression in the history of human development.

This was brought to bear by the Bolshevik Revolution – also known as the Red October – led by the Bolshevik Party itself, which took place through an armed insurrection in The Petrograd on October 25, 1917.

The leader of this revolution, Vladimir Elich Lenin, teaches us that “there are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen”. The past few weeks of October in South Africa have seen decades happen in the terrain of dealing with corrupt politicians and their agents in the underworld of business as a catalyst to cleanse the ruling party of its bad elements.

These developments in South Africa seem to confirm this October superstition, with the Hawks choosing the first weeks of this month to show that they can hunt their prey by typically dashing suddenly from a concealed perch. As opposed to other predator birds the real hawk kills its preys with its talons.

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This has described the literal episode of arrests against corrupt tenderpreneurs epitomised by Edwin Sodi who is linked to the asbestos scandal in the Free State.

Read: Mkhize denies personally benefitting from ANC ‘blesser’ Edwin Sodi

The skin-piercing effect of these talons has seen blood spilt on the floor of ANC politics in a manner unprecedented. Those who fear the claws of the Hawks have cried foul that state power is being used to fight political battles.

This blood on the floor has painted our October red. Law enforcement agencies have shown they are prepared employ their talons to arrest whomever is linked to corruption despite their political connections in the ruling party.

But we also need to see arrests in the private sector based on corruption driven by white monopoly capital and its known scandals, otherwise this will turn into a circus of self-hate by black leaders.

This blood on the floor has seen the defenders of corruption attacking anyone they consider to have been involved in the case or sold out on their agenda.

Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) duo Kebby Maphatsoe and Carl Niehaus, who have modelled themselves as defenders of the secretary-general of the ANC and his so-called Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction, have tried to wipe this blood on the floor by attacking Fikile Mbalula on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) issues (allegedly for collapsing the rail system).

Read: MKMVA calls on Mbalula to apologise for his tweets

But you cannot threaten a firebrand such as Mbalula with vitriol and expect him to not hit back. These wayward warlords need to be reminded that vitriol against grounded ANC firebrands is petrol.

Mbalula launched a scathing counter attack against his critics that he is not going to endorse their agenda of stealing at Prasa using the ticket of being former combatants of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK).

uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus outside the Durban University of Technology ahead of the night vigil. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24

We need to encourage the courage of those such as Comrade Fikile “Razzmatazz” Mbalula to soldier on as disciplined soldiers of the revolution and voices of the voiceless.

It is known that many ANC activists have criticised him as being spineless and careerist in his method of politicking, but in retrospect it is obvious that the criticism comes from a template of factionalism and its loyalties.

His critics expect him to be loyal to the Jacob Zuma/Ace Magashule camp despite its obvious destructive agenda. True to his clan name uJolinkomo has wiggled his views and proven to change sides depending on what he believes is the correct perspective that will keep the ANC alive and focused on the national democratic revolution.

No true factionalist is able to achieve such progressive inconsistency. Perhaps we need such progressive inconsistency, epitomised by siding with reason or superior logic as opposed to cabals to kill factionalism in the ANC.

We grew up observing this comrade in the ANC Youth League: We know him to stand up for what he believes in and vocalise it without fear or favour.

We need to encourage the courage of those such as Comrade Fikile “Razzmatazz” Mbalula to soldier on as disciplined soldiers of the revolution and voices of the voiceless

It is for this reason that we called him Vutha-Mlilo because, like a true student of Peter Mokaba, he used to spit fire in the progressive direction of issues he concurred with. He would certainly be a better student of Mokaba if he started leaning more towards politics of the left.

It would be dishonest to expect him to be perfect. In my view on the road towards both Polokwane 2007 and Nasrec 2017, he was on the wrong side of history. But at least he accepted when he was injudicious by changing his views to locate himself within progressive reasoning and superior logic.

He was among the first to tell off former president Zuma about his retrogressive link with the corrupt Gupta family because he was genuinely disappointed that his erstwhile hero had taken the power that this group gave him and had put into the wrong hands. That’s vintage Vutha-Mlilo, Jolinkomo, Mpondomise-Mpankomo, Qengeba thole Lomthwakazi for you.

Consistent with its dodgy nature, this “off-rampist” camp of lies is the one that gave birth to the Magashule phenomenon in the ANC long before Nasrec.

However, in line with his support for Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for ANC presidency and the correct radical economic transformation agenda, consistent with his progressive inconsistence Mbalula was reluctantly forced to praise the likes of Magashule in the past.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma congratulates Cyril Ramaphosa after was elected as president of the ANC in December. Picture: AFP

This indeed happens in the polemics of conferences, but in his sober moment he warned all of us that if the ANC is given to this man it would quickly move closer to its demise as the signs are showing today. History has indeed proven uJolinkomo correct; all eyes are on the Ace of Doom as his Free State shenanigans are beginning to follow him.

The Maphatsoe and Niehaus brigade – as a corrupt leader support group – represent an open agenda of destruction, because they are brought together by either theft or a counter revolutionary programme which needs to be nipped in the bud.

Their tentacles are in all provinces. In the North West for instance they have even infiltrated the progressives and are now implementing their agenda through unsuspected conveyor belts.

Some of us are yet to meet a member of this group who either has no dodgy political history or a link to corruption. What seems to bring them together is the fear of going to jail because the Hawks seem to mean business.

All ANC-loving cadres need to rally behind the likes of Mbalula to call a spade a spade and not just a garden tool. The prophets of gloom and doom may dismiss him as a socialite or a Louis Vuitton Revolutionary, but this cadre has proven that he genuinely loves the ANC and its real members.

But most importantly he has shown that he will fight against anything that openly seeks to undermine the strategic objectives of the National Democratic Revolution.

He asked these dodgy characters a fundamental question: why should we mobilise against a sitting president, when all he wants to do is stabilise the country.

None of these elements have answered this fundamental question instead they have gone on to hurl irrelevant insults at him. We need more of the types of Mbalula to come out and stop speaking in the quiet to defend the ANC and its historic mission.

Without a healthy ANC with such voices that advocate for clean governance and are focused on championing the needs of our people South Africa will be a foreign country with a bleak future for its offspring.

If the current ruling class is selling us out ideologically we can deal with that after this battle, because that question is part of the bigger war against imperialism which we must prepare ourselves for

We must not be fooled by the rhetoric of RET that this grouping tries to distinguish itself with. They are hiding behind a political stick to advance personal agendas.

RET is a progressive programme of the ANC that we must all pursue without fail, as long as it is executed without stealing from the public purse. RET is an important catalyst for the second phase of transition towards a national democratic society that we must all harness with clarity.

It is pleasing that the president has adopted the usage of the RET language in his rhetoric, and seems committed to its objectives as seen in the economic reconstruction and recovery plan (which he presented to a joint hybrid sitting of Parliament).

This plan has jobs at its centre which demonstrates a people focus that this country needs. RET must not be hijacked by a mob of thieves that have infiltrated the ANC to line their pockets.

As the law enforcement agencies start the remote size measuring project of dodgy ANC leaders for their orange overalls, those who want to save the movement must be prepared to defend it with their blood, sweat and tears.

Leading ANC thinker Peter Mayibuye (known as Joel Netshitenzhe) generously warned us that the beneficiaries of state-capture and corruption will not give up without a fight.

Their latest treasonous twin plan is to call a National General Council (NGC) and use the National Assembly to simultaneously call for a motion of no confidence against the sitting president of the ANC and that of the country. Progressive forces in the ANC need to be nimble-footed to stop them in their dodgy tracks.

This defence battle is not about Cyril Ramaphosa; it is a battle about the soul of the movement and its ability to rise or die in the ashes of self-destruction at this current conjuncture of our revolution.

If the current ruling class is selling us out ideologically we can deal with that after this battle, because that question is part of the bigger war against imperialism which we must prepare ourselves for.

Beyond the narrow internal battles within the ANC, the sad fact is that 30 million South Africans go to bed without food every day. We can no longer afford to have patience with people who steal from the public funds to get stinking rich at the expense of the poor – such as we have seen with the Venda Building Society Bank saga and of the Free State asbestos scandal.

Read: More arrests to be made as court postpones case against seven VBS suspects

We need a healthy ruling party with credible and ideologically grounded leaders that can turn this situation around.

Zemk’iNkomo Magwalandini, the gloves are off. Its either you stand with those who want to defend the ANC against this agenda of thieves, or you are part of them. There is no middle ground, there is no sitting on the fence, there is no in-between.

Ntwa e bolotse batlhabani: Fikile Mbalula has reminded all progressive sleeping tigers but genuine ANC warriors who are baptised in the art of radical pedagogy that you cannot threaten a true firebrand with vitriol and not burn your fingers because you are just but pouring petrol and igniting the very sparks that will come back to blaze you. Salute My Youth League President – Salute … Shapa Mdlwembe Oska O Hemisa!

Thato wa Magogodi is a Former ANC head of political education in the North West writing in his personal capacity


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