Mbalula is ANC’s worst secretary-general, says former police boss

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has ignited a storm of controversy and strife within the party over his admission that the ANC misled parliament to defend former president Jacob Zuma in the Nkandla saga.

Mbalula’s comments have resulted in former police minister Nathi Nhleko labelling him the party’s worst secretary-general.

Speaking at a public engagement ahead of the ANC’s 112-year celebrations in Barberton, Mpumalanga at the weekend, Mbalula admitted that the party fabricated information to protect Zuma in the scandal surrounding upgrades to his homestead in Nkandla.

Mbalula dropped the bombshell, disclosing that the ANC falsely referred to Zuma’s swimming pool as a “fire pool”, and that it went to great lengths to play out this deception.

He acknowledged that Nhleko was aware of these lies and that the former police minister was in a difficult position trying to justify them.

Ex-police minister aware of lies

“We went to parliament and opened an ad-hoc committee and said a swimming pool is a fire pool,” Mbalula said.

“The [then] police minister [Nathi Nhleko] was sweating, seeing that this was a lie because it is difficult to explain lies. People have lost their careers because of that thing.”

Mbalula’s comments have caused a rift within the ANC, with party leaders expressing their discontent.

In a leaked voice note, Nhleko lambasted Mbalula and called him the worst ANC secretary-general in the party’s 112-year history.

He raised questions about who had instructed him to defend and lie on behalf of the ANC.

“We are not going anywhere as the ANC if we still have a secretary-general of his calibre, the worst of kind ever in the 112-year-old liberation movement,” said Nhleko.

“You cannot talk before you think, it cannot happen that way. It’s a typical behaviour of a [beetle rolling cow dung]. You cannot have someone with a leadership responsibility behaving this way.

“If he says I lied, he must be able to prove it. Who actually gave me the instruction to lie on behalf of the ANC? If he fails to prove that, then he is in trouble.”

Mantashe slams Mbalula

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe also weighed in on the issue, slamming Mbalula for his comments.

Mantashe suggested that Mbalula got carried away by the presence of the media, emphasising the importance of choosing words carefully when in a leadership position.

“I thought he was carried away by yourself guys [the media]. He saw your cameras [and] got taken away and he said things he should not have said,” Mantashe said.

“When you lead, you count every word you say. If you don’t, you catch fire.”

Acknowledging the widespread criticism, Mbalula took to social media to clarify his statement.

He said his comments were meant to highlight how the ANC defended Zuma and not an admission of wrongdoing.

Political rally rhetoric

Mbalula argued that it was the party’s duty to understand the accusations against Zuma fully, protect its president, and ensure due process under the law.

“The ANC as a political party did not use its resources to satisfy any part of the court judgment against the former president,” reads Mbalula’s social media post.

“Other than members of the opposition and sworn enemies of the ANC, anyone who understood or interpreted the SG’s [secretary-general] remarks as an admission that the ANC assisted, abetted, aided or attempted to assist, abet or aid the former president in defrauding the government, must have his/her head checked.

“The remarks must also be understood as political rally rhetoric and polemics.”

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