News / South Africa

Bernice Maune
2 minute read
11 Sep 2017
11:09 am

LISTEN: Jackson Mthembu breaks down talking about being an absent father, husband

Bernice Maune

The ANC chief whip became emotional as he recounted how his wife had been in a serious car accident while driving their kids to school.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 07: African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu talks during an interview on October 07, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Rapport / Conrad Bornman)

During a radio interview with 702’s Stephen Grootes, Mthembu spoke about the reason for wanting to step down from his position within the ANC.

Mthembu began by explaining why he was backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma.

“That’s why one will be rooting for Cyril Ramaphosa, of course. He has committed himself to dealing with all the challenges we are facing, including that of state capture and manipulation of ANC processes.

“Challenges of using state instruments to discredit and assassinate the character of members of the African National Congress. So therefore I will not be missing in action in dealing with those challenges before the national conference, and as I have said, I need time with my family.

“We need good quality leaders not tainted by state capture, not tainted by corruption in any way whatsoever. How do we save our movement? The national grievance today is dealing with state capture.”

Mthembu said the ANC was in need of leadership that would save its image and reestablish it as a trustworthy organisation in the eyes of the public. He said corruption had eaten away at the core values of the ruling party.

“After we have put in a collective leadership that will save our movement. A collective leadership that will clean our government, a collective leadership that will clean the image of our movement. I am indeed prepared to consider whether I should not step down and have some time with my family.

“1991 when we had the December conference with the ANC, after that I divorced. I won’t like to go into the details. It was linked to the political environment, it was linked to a life I’ve lived ever since.

“I’ve never been with my family, whether in the United Democratic Front, where I had to leave Mpumalanga and be in Joburg. I was in some form of exile, so I was never with my family for long periods,” said Mthembu.

He added he lost his first wife as a result of not being at home. He said his first-born son’s addiction to drugs could be traced to his absence as a father, and added he didn’t want his younger children to follow his example.

Mthembu then mentioned how his wife had recently been in a serious accident, where she could not remember what had happened because she was fatigued.

“How would I have lived with myself had something happened to the kids in the car? I cannot be an absent father and husband,” said an emotional Mthembu.

Listen to the full interview below