EFF reminds Jackson Mthembu of ‘apartheid bullies’

At a press conference held to discuss Ramaphosa's U-turn regarding the Bosasa matter, the chief whip didn't miss an opportunity to take the EFF to task.

At an ANC press conference on Thursday, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu was questioned regarding tweets on Wednesday aimed at the EFF.

The press conference was about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s about-turn on the reason for R500,000 being paid to his son, Andile, by controversial facilities management company African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa).

While the president said at the time the money was payment for work done by Andile’s financial consultancy, for which he’d even seen a contract, he now claimed the money was, in fact, a donation for his presidential campaign.

While many questioned the president’s response, Mthembu praised it, calling him a “true leader”.

According to a tweet from Mthembu earlier today, the press conference was also an opportunity to address the EFF’s attacks on the commission of inquiry into state capture, as well as the party’s attacks on Pravin Gordhan and his daughter, as well as the media.

Confronted on a series of tweets about the EFF and Gordhan, Mthembu said he “stands by” them.

“I hate bullies,” he explained.

“I hated apartheid, I hated apartheid bullies, I hated the apartheid army. When anybody stands up to bully anyone, it takes me back to those days.”

He added that for him or any of his fellow party members to accept bullying would be “anti-ANC”.

The ANC politician took to Twitter on Wed to accuse the EFF of attempting “a classical deviation and diversion of attention from their well-known and recorded corruption and looting activities”.

“The EFF should hang their heads in shame for dragging the name of Gordhan’s daughter into their fight against her father. Of course, they will do anything to defend looting and corruption. This is indeed a new low in South African politics that must be condemned.”

Mthembu also told those at the press conference that the ANC caucus had accepted Ramaphosa’s declaration regarding his change of story on the Bosasa matter, and that any parties who are complaining about it are “motivated by cheap populism and politicking”. He also accused these parties of “grandstanding” and “lying”.

He said Ramaphosa did not deliberately mislead parliament when he provided the wrong information about the R500,000 donation received by scandal-hit Bosasa boss Gavin Watson.

Mthembu said the ANC caucus accepted Ramaphosa’s written correction to parliament, and even “applauded his honesty and sincerity”.

“The president did not intentionally and willfully… mislead the house… and therefore did not deliberately mislead the National Assembly. His conduct will therefore not be categorised as unparliamentary,” said Mthembu.

Opposition parties have called for Bosasa’s relationship with the Ramaphosa family to be investigated.

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