PUBLIC Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu warned ANC members against opposition parties trying to lure voters by misrepresenting the Nkandla report findings and painting President Jacob Zuma as corrupt.
Sisulu was addressing about 90 ANC volunteers in Veeplaas on Saturday as part of the party’s top-brass delegation that campaigned in the Bay for the much-anticipated May 7 elections.
Her warning follows ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe last week saying they were concerned about the impact the release of the report would have on their campaign.
Sisulu was addressing volunteers after they had door-to-door campaigning in Veeplaas and KwaMagxaki.
Wearing formal black trousers, high heels and a blue and white shirt, Sisulu braved the scorching heat as she posed for pictures with excited supporters, mostly women, who all wanted to snap a photo with her.
Sisulu said people should bear in mind Zuma was the first sitting president to have his home upgraded, hence the cost was high.
“The public protector has indicated the people she mentioned in her report should be held accountable and, as the ANC, we accept that as there should have been greater oversight in this project, because now it is being used against us.
“They shouldn’t lie to you and say Zuma is corrupt – it is not true.
“At no point does the public protector say comrade Zuma stole money.
“Those you’ll come across saying Zuma is corrupt, tell them they’re lying and its malicious damage to the character of President Zuma.
“As the ANC, we have accepted the public protector’s report because truly speaking, the money we spent on Nkandla is far more than we should have spent. But there’s no evidence whatsoever to say the corruption falls on President Zuma,” she said.
Madonsela released the report last week and recommended Zuma pay back some of the money spent on non-security upgrades after finding he and his family had unduly benefited from them.
Sisulu said they were concerned at hearing the DA was confident of taking over the metro after the 2016 local government elections.
“Please comrades make sure this story is told far and wide because what we have achieved is an extremely good story.
“For us based in Johannesburg, we get worried hearing we seem to have a problem in relation to the DA with Nelson Mandela Bay.
“Never comrades [should you] take such a great and dignified name and hand it over to the DA.
“The DA will never govern with Madiba’s name anywhere, so comrades here in Nelson Mandela [Bay] you must assist our people on May 7 to ensure there’s a very clear victory because each one of us owes a great deal of gratitude to tata Mandela, because today we have democracy.
“Let’s thank him by making sure here in Nelson Mandela metro we get the highest votes in the last 20 years,” she said to resounding applause.
In an interview, Sisulu said it would be a shame if the Bay was taken over by opposition parties since it was named after Mandela.
She laid into EFF leader Julius Malema for singling out land redistribution, saying the ANC had for years been prioritising it.
“He’s taken it up as though he just woke up one day and discovered we don’t have land and need to fight for our land.
“We’ve been fighting for it for many years,” she said. – Mkhululi Ndamase