Johannesburg – Ferocious ANC battles have placed the life of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte in serious danger, which saw her security beefed up by the party.
Sunday World can reveal that Duarte’s security became a matter of serious concern following what is believed to have been clandestine enquiries about her security detail, which gave rise to fears that there were plans to attack her.
Other ANC leaders who are members of its national executive committee (NEC) are believed to also have asked about security. Regarding threats on her life, Duarte told Sunday World on Friday that she had since April lived through difficult moments.
She said that at one stage when she was in Sasolburg in Free State, a man had asked her security guards whether they were assigned from government or private companies.
“I have to tell you, I have lived a few difficult moments since April, not that you care sir, frankly speaking. For you, I am just another story and if anything happens, I will just be another casualty. That is what I have to say to you,” she said. Sunday World has learnt that Duarte’s house was burgled as part of efforts to intimidate her. In his closing remarks to an NEC meeting in May, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that death threats were made against NEC coordinator Andries Nel, merely for implementing the party’s decision to suspend the organisation’s secretary-general Ace Magashule.
He also expressed concern about what he described as the “unwarranted attacks on Duarte”.
Ramaphosa said the attacks had taken the form of threats, insults, allegations and misinformation.
The ANC suspended Magashule in May for failing to step aside in line with the party’s resolution that those charged with corruption must do so.
An angry Duarte questioned why this reporter and other people were enquiring about threats on her life and security.
“Next time anybody comes to send you, send them to Paul Langa [ANC head of security]. I don’t like faceless people who pretend to care about me. You know there are many people who have security.
“I know many members of the NEC who have security, I go to their homes. Have you ever asked them this question? Who sent you?” she asked in an angry tone.
The ANC has also condemned violence and reported deaths at some of its branch general meetings, which are preparing for local government elections.
Duarte said she was not deterred and would continue to do her work fearlessly because she did not “owe anyone anything”.
“I have belief and I have principles. I will stick by them no matter who is sent to threaten me. Nothing will change that. Nothing. I will just continue to do what I need to do to protect myself and my family.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele also weighed in on the matter, saying the threats on Duarte’s life had been serious.
He told Sunday World that people who were questioning Duarte’s security detail wanted to establish its strength.
“Let me tell you one thing, that you are becoming a very good source of people who want to hurt DSG [deputy secretary-general]. That is how I will view it should anything happen to DSG,” Cele said.
“I would love to know who are these people giving this lie, this information. But those are not the people who are making a story, they are people seeking security details.”
Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.