Police minister Fikile Mbalula has defended President Jacob Zuma against his detractors‚ saying those who were openly critical had sought to “demonise” the ANC.
In a globally televised interview aired on Thursday‚ Mbalula took aim at deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and former ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa for publicly airing their displeasure with the president.
Mbalula told the BBC that the ANC was not opposed to a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture‚ which were detailed last year in a report by outgoing public protector Thuli Madonsela.
The report had probed allegations that the wealthy Gupta family have used their relationship with Zuma to influence state tenders.
Ramaphosa has backed calls for such an inquiry‚ while Zuma has disputed the findings of Madonsela’s report.
“Mathews Phosa‚ Cyril Ramaphosa‚ and whoever in concert‚ they are not ANC in their own right. There’s a whole lot of disciplined members of the ANC who have not sought to express any view in the manner in which some of the views have been expressed in public and demonise the [ANC]‚” Mbalula said.
“He (Ramaphosa) is a leader of the African National Congress. Where I’m correcting you‚ is that views expressed by individuals who are members of the ANC don’t necessarily represent the position of the African National Congress. If Mathews Phosa has got a view about Zuma to go‚ he knows that view is not shared commonly. It’s not a view that the majority of members of the ANC agree with.”
Mbalula also dismissed suggestions that the ruling party is in crisis.
“Could the end be nigh‚ not just for the Zuma presidency‚ but for the ANC’s grip on power?” presenter Stephen Sackur asked Mbalula on the BBC’s Hard Talk programme.
Mbalula responded: “I wouldn’t say it is a crisis. I will say we are undergoing some challenges in relation to what is happening now… Over a period of time‚ the ANC has been tested. It has emerged victorious at each turning point in terms of its history.”
He also dismissed the groundswell of opposition to Zuma‚ seen in recent protests organised by civil society organisations and political parties.
“The view that you are expressing is one-sided. It’s a coalition of forces. For whatever reason‚ they have coalesced around the president‚ that he must go. It is not the view of the majority.”