Bonginkosi Khanyile, accused of being July unrest instigator, joins Patriotic Alliance

Patriotic Alliance Deputy President Kenney Kunene addressing the media in Sandton on Thursday.
Patriotic Alliance Deputy President Kenney Kunene addressing the media in Sandton on Thursday.
Juniour Khumalo
  • The Patriotic Alliance has announced the addition of six new leaders. 
  • The leaders include one-time fees must fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile and former ActionSA Soweto leader Mthandeni Nana Bembe. 
  • The party also announced that it seeks to intensify its controversial stance on illegal immigrants. 

The Patriotic Alliance (PA) on Thursday announced that the criminally-charged Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile has joined its ranks.

The party's deputy president, Kenny Kunene, who was imprisoned from 1997 to 2003 after being convicted of running a Ponzi scheme, also announced that the PA was roping in Mthandeni Nana Bembe, who was dismissed by ActionSA earlier this year.

Kunene also raised the illegal immigrant issue.

Kunene said despite accusations that he was xenophobic, the party was set to intensify its fight against illegal immigrants. He also indicated that the party was on a path to beef up its membership. 

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"We are very much humbled as the PA that some of the patriots in the country are seeing the light that the PA is the only party whose leadership puts their money where their mouth is. Today I am very much happy to introduce these individuals who have joined our ranks," said Kunene. 

He then went on to introduce Bembe, saying he was the "gentleman" who went to ActionSA's offices demanding the party and Mashaba make changes to its councillors' list following the 2021 municipal elections. 

Kunene said this was a massive political victory as Bembe was key in growing ActionSA's support in Soweto, leading to the party's impressive performance in the elections. 

Bembe had a fall-out with Mashaba last year over positions. 

Bonginkosi Khanyile.
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He also accused Mashaba of not telling the truth about his funders, while, in turn, ActionSA accused him of being an ANC spy within its ranks. 

In another raid on Mashaba's party, Kunene also announced the defection of former ActionSA member Sphiwe Khumalo, who was instrumental in launching Mashaba's party in Tshwane. 

The PA also announced Khanyile, a former ANC and EFF member, as being among the latest additions to its ranks. 

READ | Disgruntled ActionSA Soweto members accuse party of using them for votes

Khanyile, who is facing two counts of inciting public violence, two counts of holding an illegal gathering, and one count of not wearing a face mask while in public, said he had joined the PA because he was tired of "narcissistic leaders" who only made promises and speeches, but failed to back it up with action.

He was arrested following the July 2021 unrest. 

The former Fees Must Fall activist said the PA's Gayton McKenzie, who had recently become the Central Karoo mayor, was leading by example as he had announced that he would be donating his salary to charity and would not employ bodyguards during his term. 

Besides the recruiting drive, Kunene said his party did not mind the xenophobia tag, based on how the party had gone about addressing illegal immigrants. 

"We must understand that our party is called Patriotic Alliance; it is an alliance of patriots, people who love this country and put this country first. The name of our party defines our vision and our mission.

READ | Zandile Gumede defeats Thabani Nyawose in race for ANC eThekwini chair

"We are going to continue with the campaign to get rid of illegal immigrants in this country. We are going to intensify this campaign, saying those immigrants who are also legal in this country should not take the jobs that can be performed by locals," said Kunene. 

The party also intended to expand the campaign to not only focus on black immigrants, but also other nationalities, with a particular focus on "illegal Chinese immigrants". 

In justifying his party's actions, Kunene said allowing illegal immigrants to continue living in South Africa amounted to glorifying modern-day slavery. 

"We went to a farm where some of these illegal immigrants work, and they are treated like modern-day slaves. They have no choice to to accept such treatment because they have nowhere to go as they have no legal documentation to be in this country," said the PA deputy president. 

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