Even if you pay billions, you won’t be able to change ANC policy – Jessie Duarte

The ANC deputy secretary-general says the ANC is looking into whether votes were bought at Nasrec, and maintains that Dlamini-Zuma's campaign was actually poorly funded.

In an interview on SAfm shared by the ANC to Facebook on Friday, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte fielded numerous questions about the current state of the country and the ruling party.

She started off by denying that she and fellow ANC member Carl Niehaus could be described as being on the same side of politics, but didn’t want to go into why. She did, however, make it clear that she was now supporting President Cyril Ramaphosa despite having voted for his rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in 2017 at Nasrec, because she’d wanted a female president.

“It’s very difficult for people who are not long in the ANC to understand that … I find that awkward, particularly analysts. In my view, they become advertisers for negativity. We need to begin by uniting the ANC, and unite South Africa.”

She touched on the difficulties she’d had with having to defend former president Jacob Zuma against the media, amid numerous question marks against his abilities at the time as a leader.

Duarte added that she wouldn’t get into Twitter wars with people in a way that would contradict the official ANC stance. She preferred to focus on her work. She said she didn’t believe in populism, and would simply do what was right.

With headlines about the hundreds of millions donated to Ramaphosa’s election campaign and how that was disbursed now dominating the news cycle, Duarte made it clear that she didn’t agree that large amounts of money should play any role in political campaigning. She said the issue about the CR17 campaign funds was indeed a “huge issue” in the ANC, and it would be discussed and examined.

However, she said that she didn’t think that any amount of money would be able to sway the policy making of the ruling party, and anyone alleging that was ignorant.

“Absolutely not. Policy in the ANC is driven in a very particular way. Even if you pay billions of rands, you are not going to be able to make that difference.”

She also called allegations that Ramaphosa had “bought his way into the ANC” ridiculous.

Duarte outlined Ramaphosa’s political background and history, defending his pedigree in the ANC. She, however, conceded that people were correct to say that the individuals who’d campaigned with him had indeed collected a lot of money, and the ANC would ask him what he’d done with it.

If he had used the money to buy votes, that would be a problem, she said.

As for allegations that Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign had attracted as much, or even more money, Duarte said that was untrue, since she had been part of that campaign and they had “struggled” financially, with even the buying of T-shirts supposedly a challenge.

“Everything was a struggle. If there was loads of money in that campaign, it wasn’t showing itself to the people working in it.”

Duarte maintained that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was not a divisive figure in the ANC, and she appeared to want to blame the media for the perception that he was at odds with Ramaphosa and others in the ANC over issues such as the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank.

She also denied that there was any discord between Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza.

You can watch her answers, and others, below:

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