MCEBO DLAMINI: The inexcusable childishness of Fikile Mbalula
The adhesive that holds the ANC is tattered and as a result its center no longer holds. The dilapidation is not only manufactured by the enemies of the organisation but also by its members. In such a situation it becomes extremely difficult to find solutions because we not only have to fight the foe outside, but also the dangerous one inside, who are not easily identifiable.
How does one characterise the recent rants on Twitter by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, which were directed at senior members of the ANC? Under what circumstances does a leader of the ANC speak in that manner about other leaders? I arrive at two conclusions: Mbalula has no regard for the health of the organisation as long as he appears good to a certain faction; or his judgement has been clouded.
If there has been corruption for such a long time in the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's allocation of security tenders, why has he kept quiet for so long? As a Member of Parliament, he has a statutory obligation to report any knowledge he has of corruption. Of course, the timing of his whistle blowing does not mean that there is no corruption, it just makes one question the motive behind deciding to speak now.
But beyond all of this, the manner in which these allegations are raised is concerning. Mbalula is a senior national executive council member in the ANC and should by now be familiar with the ways in which matters that are as serious as this ought to be raised. The Twitter rants seem to be no more than his way of gaining popularity, which has the potential of bringing his very organisation into disrepute. I am one of the people who believes that we must be critical of the ANC but within parameters of processes, at least if we care for it.
The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) remains a central part of the ANC, symbolically and materially. It reminds us how we got to where we are but it also provides us with a pool of experienced cadres to give advice whenever it seems that we steering away from the revolutionary mandate. But despite its importance within the organisation, it does not make the association entitled to special treatment or actions that impugn them when they are breaking the law. Although not invincible, the MKMVA must never at any point be disrespected and portrayed as simply useless entities within the ANC. Comrade Mbalula ought to know it, that the country he inherited was fought for by these cadres whom he easily disrespects and calls useless. Perhaps they are useless, but it makes one question how useful Mbalula has been?
Not very much. He is a loud mouth who has done very little for both the ANC and government. Outside of his verbosity and incoherency in speech, there is very little sense. He is able to position himself strategically because of the ability to shout the loudest in the room - a flip-flopper of note who has no relation with principle and ideology. He is unable to critically discuss or at least point out which direction the country must take but has the audacity to rant on Twitter when he has never said anything constructive around what the ANC and the government should look like in the future.
I say he must go to school, not just to get formal education but to learn from the very same veterans he is insulting because he clearly lacks political education. His recent outburst has done nothing to solve the problem but it has just attracted attention to himself. It has not made him a leader of the people but the celebrity he so much wants to become. I must say without fear that Mbalula is rather childish.
Mcebo Dlamini is a former leader of student protests at Wits University.