Fikile Mbalula says he did not call for Pravin Gordhan’s axing, media misinterpreted his message

Fikile Mbalula says he did not call for Pravin Gordhan’s axing, media misinterpreted his message

Fikile Mbalula says he did not call for Pravin Gordhan’s axing, media misinterpreted his message

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula says his comments about Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s performance were misinterpreted.

Mbalula clarified his comments during his address at the ANC Veterans’ League Third National Conference on Friday.

Commenting on Gordhan’s performance at the ANC Women’s League conference last weekend, Mbalula said: “I’m going to say to Pravin Gordhan, comrade Pravin, move faster or otherwise we’ll move you. Comrade Pravin, move faster at Transnet or otherwise we’ll move you.”

Mbalula said he had to clarify his comments in a statement after Gordhan “cried” to the president.

“The fact that a clarion call is sounded on the minister to fast-track policy interventions to address our rail and fright logistics does not amount to a call for his removal,” he said in the statement.

On Friday, Mbalula again used the veterans’ league conference to clarify his comments, saying he had been misinterpreted by the media.

“Once I said we must move, Comrade Gordhan, the media reported that I meant the comrade must be reshuffled which was not the case, so I had to issue a statement to clarify the statement. Then they started saying people are afraid of Gordhan,” said Mbalula.

“I will speak diligently about our ministers on behalf of the ANC. The centre in this country is the ANC and we will also urge our ministers to move with speed. Those who are sleeping on the job, we’re watching them. People must work and the results must be visible. And it doesn’t matter who is in charge, whether it’s Ramaphosa or Mbalula, the ANC is in charge.”

Today, 28 July 2023, I addressed the ANC Veterans’ League Third National Conference.

Moral compass of ANC

Mbalula described the veterans as “the moral compass of the ANC”, who should guide the ruling party against any pitfalls.

“Since the 55th National Conference in December 2022, we have insisted that the centre must hold. It is our view that as a collective we are responsible for the implementation of all the resolutions that we took in the 55th Conference,” said Mbalula.

“We have had to deal decisively with some of our deployees who seem to see their work as an unending jamboree where everything goes.

“There is space for democracy but when a decision is taken, the majority view obtains and in instances where an upper structure has taken the decision, lower structures have to and must comply.

“Any comrade who has been charged in a court of law must step aside. Any comrade whose action might undermine the standing of the ANC must explain him or herself to the Integrity Commission of the ANC. We have also strengthened the work of the Disciplinary Committee.”

Mbalula on renewal

Mbalula further said the ruling party was still on the path of renewal.

“For us, renewal is not a pie in the sky. It is about building an organization that can execute its mission. It is about an organization of coherent members that respect themselves and respect the ethos of their organization and its traditions,” he said.

“It is our view that we are not where we would want to be yet, but we can see the envisaged future on the horizon. A strong organization rooted in our communities can complement the work of government. Such an organisation if rooted amongst the people will be the first to see the problems that affect the people.”

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