South African’s National Liberation Movement

Close this search box.


Nkandla needs sober minds

One of my colleagues in the ANC once pointed out how boring politics in KwaZulu-Natal Legislature had become.

The violence has ceased and the acrimony between the ANC and IFP has melted. The rowdy and emotional exchange amongst parliamentarians who waved fists and heckled abuse across the legislature floor was now a thing of the past. Some may recall the days when members of the KZN legislature brandished guns during a heated fist exchange of supporters and got police officers scurrying across the perimeter fence. I even remember the same parliamentarians coming to explain to both President Zuma and the Premier Dr Frank Mdlalose then, in 1994, as leaders of the ANC and IFP respectively, how the police and the media had misunderstood their “friendly exchange”.

Now calmness had been restored. The adrenalin rush has been replaced by rational debates with common purpose. It is an era of reconciliation and leaders taking responsibility for the conduct of their members. This has resulted in the elimination of war talk and provocative action by leaders that left grass roots supporters tearing each other after irresponsible words and action of their leaders. Some of the gruesome events are so vague in our memories that the newly emerged leaders may even be so adventurous as to inadvertently plunge us again into the violence we have left behind.

In the past marches by supporters to homes of opponents occurred, usually associated with stoning and hurling of verbal abuse at the opponents` premises. In fright, occupants would run for safety and be pleased if it were nothing more than stones because Molotov cocktails or live ammunition were not unusual. Protestors knew they were taking chances because it was not unknown that occupants responded to the `visit` with live fire to make the `guests` realize they were unwelcome. Quite often the local community including party supporters would rally in defence of the besieged member to protect him from the invasion.

There are many instances wherein the family members have suffered attacks by mobs that invade their privacy on the pretext that they have some disagreement with a member of the family. The rights to safety and privacy of family members of political leaders and activists must be protected from attack from intolerant opposition.

Under the influence of former leader Julius Malema, the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal attempted such a march to the home of Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the leader of the IFP against the advice of the ANC provincial leadership who had to issue a statement dissociating the ANC from the action.

We discovered recently that we may be subjected again to the aggression we left behind during the 1990s when we opted for peace, in the form of actions of the Democratic Alliance. I don`t blame the DA leader Helen Zille. I actually sympathise with her. She has recently adopted mass action as a strategy. On energy you cannot fault Ms Zille. But street wise she is not. She lacks the experience of the rough and tumble politics of the dark days of our violent politics. That is why she occasionally opts for adventures such as that “visit“ to the home of President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla or the equally disastrous march to the offices of COSATU.

She nearly caused a violent backlash on both occasions simply because she cannot relate to the experience of those who learnt the boundaries of legitimate protest and provocation that has in the past resulted in bloodshed. When it all happened, she was living in the protection of the leafy suburbs when the DA was constituted of pinstriped suites and blue ties that looked down upon the uncivilized mobs stomping their feet on the tarmac. In a bid to capture the vote of the youth from the African townships she had to swap her costume with blue T-shirts and tackies and learn to toyi-toyi, shout slogans and sing adapted songs such as “awulethe uZille wam”.

The fun of being the opposition is that you run no government machinery and you make far fewer mistakes than the ruling party. On the contrary the ruling party must take responsibility for the sins of errant civil servants including their indolence, ill-discipline, fraud and errors of judgement in a wide machinery wherein often the left hand never tells the right hand what it is doing. The Opposition merely needs to ask the question and create a doubt about the truthfulness of the response offered by the ruling party. It is an easy job!

We must accept that the DA as opposition has a right to ask questions. After all government has confirmed that money was spent in Nkandla. However, that the DA is making allegations of corruption is not itself proof that President Zuma is corrupt. Nor is it proof that the expenditure is not justifiable. A correct decision can be abused by corrupt elements in civil service by short circuiting normal procurement procedures thus inflating prices or taking bribes. The Ministerial investigation did inform us that the President did nothing wrong. No amount of shouting by the DA led-coalition of opposition parties brings up any new facts.

We have worked too hard to create a climate of political tolerance and no one must feel entitled to put that climate at risk. Constitutional mechanisms must be used to force government to be accountable. Provoking negative community responses or party reactions may lead to unintended consequences.

Dr Zweli Mkhize is the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and the Treasurer-General of the ANC.

Article was published in the Sowetan, 9 April 2013.

More Articles

 Water Scarcity in SA
17 November 2022
South Africa’s GBV scourge is a tale of two tragedies 6 November 2022
Social compacts integral to SA’s development 09 October 2022
A prosperous SA depends on unified, focused ANC 02 September 2022
Recovery may be slow and imperceptible but it is under way 21 August 2022
Violating the rights of women and girls will not stop HIV and AIDS: The folly of forced virginity testing 
Nkandla needs sober minds
Sterile thinking inflicted Dr. Pityana
Mangaung – Leaders account to members
Lessons for the ANC from Polokwane Conference
Long road from KZN to Mangaung
United Nations and the African National Congress partners in the Struggle against Apartheid
The Women’s Liberation Struggle
Violence – It`s everyone`s issue
Happy Birthday Tata Madiba
Article based on a speech delivered at an informal meeting of the UN General Assembly on Nelson Mandela International Day
The touchy issue of sex work cannot be overlooked
The content of the Constitution must align with its intent
GANDHI and the formation of The African National Congress of South Africa
Why concerted campaign against the ANC in Limpopo and the ANCYL?
Nelson Mandela: The Symbol of Resistance
We will never be diverted
THE NDR, African Leadership and Non-Racialism
Mineral wealth beneath the soil and mines should be transfered to the ownership of the people as a whole
Youth Month and Beyond: The ANCYL remains a home for all young people
Our generation should fulfil its mission in defence of the ANC
The Youth stands to benefit more on the continuation of affirmative action and Black Economic Empowerment
Albert Luthuli and the African National Congress: A Bio-Bibliography Author(s): Dorothy C. Woodson
There are no ANC Camps, article by Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki
The Democratic Alliance is suffering from willful amnesia
People`s Power – the 20th Anniversary of the UDF
The road to chaos can be stopped in Kwazulu Natal
The Defiance Campaign: After 50 years, the spirit of service and sacrifice lives on
Women and the African National Congress: 1912-1943
ANC was his family, the struggle was his life: A tribute to Govan Mbeki
Hambe Kahle, Govan Mbeki
Hamba kahle Oom Gov
Nelson Mandela Foundation responds to report in the Daily Telegraph
Article by Dr Zweli Mkhize on the HIV/AIDS debate
DP Bugging Allegation
Comments by Dr Delport on a speech by President Mbeki at the International Anti-Corruption Conference
A Note to our Revolutionary Comrades in Government
Never mind the elephants – what about farmworkers?
The Moral Renewal of the Nation
The Struggle for Democracy is not over
A two thirds majority: The New Swart Gevaar
Opposition parties must learn to tolerate criticism
Toward Robben Island: The Rivonia Trial
The ANC`s second submission to the TRC: Behind South Africa`s Low-Intensity War
Talking To Vula
Some Personal Recollections of the Free Nelson Mandela Campaign
Introduction to Issue of Forbes Magazine Devoted to the New South Africa
The Future of South Africa by Nelson Mandela
Article by Nelson Mandela in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No.5
Democracy – The only solution
Mahatma Gandhi and John Dube
Rivonia: telling it as it was
Free Nelson Mandela – an account of the Campaign to Free Nelson Mandela and all other Political Prisoners in South Africa
Olof Palme and the liberation of Southern Africa by Oliver Tambo
Oliver Tambo
Where Freedom Is Treason: Article on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Treason Trial
Campaign of Defiance against Unjust Laws – recalled
Day of solidarity with political prisoners in South Africa
The Wankie Campaign
Article by Oliver Tambo – In the observer
Introduction to Selected Writings on the Freedom Charter – 1955-1985
The Freedom Charter – Equal Rights and Freedoms
Govan Mbeki – Isithwalandwe
The Freedom Charter a beacon to the people of South Africa
Congress of the People – I was there
Article by Oliver Tambo in World Marxist Review
The Great Battle: The Story of African Resistance in 1879
Mandela and our Revolution
The African Miners` Strike Of 1946
Drawing up the Demands of the Freedom Charter
The Defiance Campaign Recalled
Apartheid – A threat to Africa`s survival – Article by Oliver Tambo
Paper prepared at the request of the Special Committee against Apartheid
Article by Timothy Bennett-Smyth on Transcontinental Connections: Alfred B Xuma and the ANC on the World Stage
“Passive resistance in South Africa” by Olive Tambo
This item by Oliver Tambo was published as the introduction to the book “No Easy Walk to Freedom” by Ruth First
“What I would do if I were Prime Minister” by Albert Luthuli
“The Lutuli story” An Autobiographical article
“If I were Prime Minister”: Article by Albert Luthuli
“What I think of Macmillan`s speech”: Article by Albert Luthuli
Article by W.M. Sisulu – “Congress and the Africanists”
Does The Freedom Charter mean Socialism?
Article in Liberation by W.M. Sisulu – “Boycott as a Political Weapon”
South Africa`s struggle for Democracy by W.M. Sisulu
Freedom in our Lifetime
In the Transkei, where famine rules, people fear the future by W.M. Sisulu
Article in Liberation by W.M. Sisulu: The extension of the pass laws
Spectre of Belsen and Buchenwald: Life under apartheid by Nelson Mandela
Article in Fighting Talk by W.M. Sisulu: Forward with the Freedom Charter
Extract from the third report of the United Nations Commission on the Racial Situation in the Union of South Africa
Call to A. N. C. Ranks by Albert Luthuli
Towards Democratic Unity by Nelson Mandela
How Congress began
The Story of Defiance
We defy – 10,000 volunteers protest against unjust laws
`We defy` – 10,000 volunteers protest against `unjust laws`
Pass Law Resisters, Native Case Stated – Report on interview with I Bud Mbelle, JW Dunjwa, and PJ Motsoakae of the ANNC
Native Union
The Regeneration of Africa