Adulation for relaxed Jonas

BACK HOME: Mcebisi Jonas at the Babs Madlakane Hall in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage

I’m an activist, not a professional politician, former deputy finance minister says

As he stepped into the Babs Madlakane Hall in KwaNobuhle, the crowd erupted into applause and broke out into song and dance. The message was clear – Uitenhage was happy to have Mcebisi Jonas back home.

Clad in a denim shirt and jeans, Jonas cut a casual figure, a man at ease and free of the burden of having to guard the public purse on behalf of about 50 million South Africans.

He danced, he smiled and shook hands with some of the hundreds of SACP, ANC and Cosatu members who turned up to hear him and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa speak on Sunday.

And while there had been a call from a Kwanobuhle ANC branch for the former deputy finance minister to have a go at the Eastern Cape chairmanship when the ANC holds its provincial elective conference in July, he is not so keen. Asked if he would consider making a comeback to provincial politics, Jonas said: “I’ve never been approached about that and when I asked the branch, they did not seem to know about it equally.

“But I think it’s important to unite the province and I don’t think I will be one of the candidates in any way.”

He said he would continue his work as an activist, mobilising to build stronger structures of the SACP, Cosatu and civil society.

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