Opinion

Sisulu's opinion piece a 'miscalculated mistake' in ANC presidency shot - expert

Sisulu's opinion piece a 'miscalculated mistake' in ANC presidency shot - expert

JOHANNESBURG - Political experts have described Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s opinion piece which attacks those in power and the judiciary’s role in the country’s democracy as a “big mistake”.

While experts said the opinion piece published last week in IOL was certainly a launching pad for Sisulu’s second attempt at the race for the African National Congress’s presidency ahead of the party’s elective conference this year, they added that her views may work against that ambition too.

Sisulu may be a long-standing member of Parliament and a veteran member of the cabinet, but political experts said the move was miscalculated.

Among other contents of the widely criticised opinion piece, is what she says are “mentally colonised Africans” in the high echelons of the country’s judicial system.

Professor Sheila Meintjies explained that while the remarks may capture a constituency in the country that is feeling hard done by the ANC, this is not the best way to go about doing that.

“She is very well educated. She has all the necessary requirements [for ANC presidency] but my only worry about her is that she is pandering to a radicalism that is not necessarily going to fulfil the needs and interests of the constituencies that would normally support her – the poor and women. She hasn’t said anything about gender-based violence and the poverty that grinds down the majority of the population.”

Meintjies said even if she were positioning herself as a candidate of the faction in the ANC known as the RET’s, its radicalism is not a posture of the majority members of the ANC, putting her on the back foot in the race despite her “premature” campaign.

Meanwhile, political party Cope said minister Sisulu insulted African judges and should be fired.

The party has pledged support for the courts and Acting Chief Justice Raymond Condo.

It also linked Sisulu's opinion piece to the Constitutional Court's decision to jail former President Jacob Zuma over his refusal to adhere to that court's order sending him back to the state capture inquiry.

“We call upon President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Lindiwe Sisulu. She is an embarrassment, not only to the government but to the entire country,” said Cope’s Dennis Bloem.