Former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba did not resign voluntarily, but was pushed by the ANC to fall on his sword.
The Sunday Times reports that Gigaba tendered his resignation after receiving a call from ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte on Tuesday.
Ramaphosa is said to have informed Gigaba about a decision of the ANC’s top officials that he should resign. Gigaba was meeting former ANC Youth League leaders at Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina’s Alberton home when he received the call. Gigaba’s resignation caught some of his backers by surprise as he had insisted that he would wait for Ramaphosa to fire him.
ANC insiders say even after Masina pleaded with him to vacate his office, Gigaba was not convinced. It was only after receiving a call from Ramaphosa that he tendered his resignation.
“His hands were tied. Refusing to resign would have amounted to a direct defiance of the ANC,” said an ANC insider.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, would not comment on whether Ramaphosa requested him to resign.
“The issue is that minister Gigaba resigned and the president accepted his resignation in line with his [constitutionally granted] prerogative to appoint and remove members of cabinet. The minister resigned voluntarily and we would not wish to speculate on any other discussions which may or may have not taken place ahead of his decision,” she said.
Duarte confirmed calling Gigaba but denied instructing him to resign.
“I spoke to Malusi on Tuesday about general things. I was concerned about him… I can call any member of the NEC,” she said.
Gigaba was under pressure to resign after the Constitutional Court refused to hear his application to overturn a court decision that was in favour of Fireblade Aviation — a company owned by SA’s richest family, the Oppenheimers. The North Gauteng High Court had ruled that Gigaba lied under oath when he told the court that he had not approved Fireblade Aviation’s VVIP terminal at the OR Tambo International Airport.
The public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, reached the same conclusion last month and gave Ramaphosa until last Wednesday to act against Gigaba. Ramaphosa’s call came on the eve of Mkhwebane’s deadline. Gigaba arrived in Durban yesterday, where he was expected to join the KwaZuluNatal ANC campaign trail.
The police withdrew two officers and one vehicle from Gigaba’s Gauteng security detail immediately after he was removed from office. He is now being protected by two bodyguards with one vehicle.
The Sunday Times understands that when Gigaba arrived in Durban, he was met by two bodyguards who were without a car. His allies accused police minister Bheki Cele of being behind the decision to cut Gigaba’s security. They said it was “malicious” as it was done without a security assessment.
Cele’s spokesperson, Reneilwe Serero, denied that Gigaba’s security detail had been reduced. “All that he had is still as is, for the next month,” said Serero.
Gigaba’s allies have lobbied ANC structures, mostly in KwaZulu-Natal, to back him.
Events will be organised to give Gigaba a platform to “tell his side of the story”.
At a meeting in Durban on Tuesday, ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli is said to have urged party members and leaders to “welcome Gigaba with open arms”.
“We were told to welcome him and work with him. Ntuli said we must not judge him [Gigaba] … and that he will be given a platform to do the work of the ANC,” said an ANC provincial executive member who asked not to be named.
Contacted for comment, Ntuli said: “Yes, he [Gigaba] made a mistake — and he has resigned to show humility — and should now be allowed to do organisational work.”
There were attempts to convince the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal to come out publicly in support of Gigaba. However, insiders
His hands were tied. Refusing to resign would have amounted to a direct defiance of the ANC
said his strategy to resist calls to step down had irked some of his sympathisers.
“You can’t say you won’t resign … and a week later write a letter of resignation. Who is going to trust you afterwards?” said an ANC leader in KwaZulu-Natal.
A defiant Gigaba told the media two weeks ago that he would not voluntarily step down, and suggested that his peers would rise to defend him should he be pushed.
The KwaZulu-Natal leader said: “You don’t pre-empt the ANC . … If the ANC can remove [Jacob] Zuma, who are you? He [Gigaba] dug his own grave.” Additional reporting by Zimasa Matiwane
● Utterances from some quarters that the ANC is “purging” a certain generation when exercising organisational discipline cannot go unchallenged. There is a difference between “generational mix” and a group of friends who have personally benefited from our politics of patronage on the ticket of an imagined “unity of a generation”.
The truth is that the group supposedly under siege has been bolstered by patronage. It is an elite “boys’ club” that often excluded those who didn’t have blue lights, were not dating “SlayQueens” (girls hanging out with top politicians and businessmen in nightclubs) or had Cubana or Taboo (nightclubs) platinum lifetime membership and links with celebrities.
We must all account for our misdemeanours and not hide behind collective leadership or erroneously argue, as some have done since Malusi Gigaba’s much-publicised political troubles, that there is a purge of a certain generation, as if some were more representative of this generation than others.
Activist and academic Dr David Mohale dismisses this notion that some people are more representative of a generation than others — “generational exceptionalism” — as a lie. In his view, these selfanointed representatives of the generation supposedly being purged were just a select group whose personal friendship was predicated on how ANC membership could be exploited to benefit their created sense of “generational exceptionalism”.
But how do we define a generation and who belongs in it? The starting point for the definition in political terms should be the wider youth constituency. In other words, the reference to generation must be inspired and informed by the social station, struggles and aspirations of the youth of that era.
And so, any political formation must speak of the generation of youth before it can speak of the generation of the party. After all, we are members of the community before we are anything else.
There is the issue that every generation must define its mission. Three missions are identifiable, especially since 1944, a year noted for the emergence of youth formations in most political parties.
The generation of Anton Lembede and Oliver Tambo, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and others said “freedom in our lifetime”. Amadelakufa! (Daredevils).
Then there were the two missions that straddled two generations: the Young Lions and their final push for freedom in the 1970s and 1980s, and the generation that defined their mission as reconstruction and development of the new political reality in the early 1990s.
And today there is a generation that takes economic freedom in our lifetime as its mission. But it does not mean that freedom in our lifetime was devoid of economics. It’s a matter of emphasis and the need to define immediate tasks.
All the generations are products of their time. They defined their missions relative to their conditions, exigencies and hopes for the future. And their struggles and contributions are part of one continuum: improving the human condition.
We belong to two generations: the reconstruction and development age and the economic freedom in our lifetime generation. We carry both missions. The moment requires that we do so.
At some point, there was a debate in the early 1990s about the lost generation. The media and other sources of information were trying to characterise the 1980s generation of Young Lions as a lost generation. They were asking: what did the apartheid state, states of emergency and local struggles do to these young people? It was the ANC Youth League, among others, that disproved this fallacious description. Later, researchers such as Jeremy Seekings came to the same conclusion, that the concept of the lost generation was wrong and misleading. His paper can be found online.
So, debate or contestation about the youth or the generation of youths is not new or original.
What then of mixes?
The point is that to renew itself and reclaim the energies of progressive youth, the ANC and parties which are serious about the future of SA must really begin to define what succession is. Our political parties have no succession plans or ideas. Their interest in this subject is very low for obvious reasons. The Chinese do this better.
At present the ANC, more than any other party, needs renewal in the mould of 1944. Our generation is not rising like the one of Lembede to renew, reposition and modernise the ANC and redefine the current political economic epoch.
The point is that succession is not without struggle. The 1944 generation’s experience is instructive. They radicalised and modernised the ANC at a time when the older leadership thought the youth were disruptive. Our generation is happy with assimilation into the narrow structures of accumulation and tradition. Hence the social distance between political parties and the millennials.
The point is that political parties exist to inspire and drive change in society. They become irrelevant when they don’t do so. A political party must be in sync with the issues of the day. The 2015 experiences of the #FeesMustFall movement are quite instructive.
We must rediscover our mission and ask: what will be our legacy? How much do we love our people? What are we willing to sacrifice? What is the pursuit of happiness in this moment? How will we be remembered? Where are the leaders of these generations today?
They are still with us, leading in every sector of society, including politics, government and the state. They really are. What has happened to the missions? You have the answer to that question. When all else has been said and done, institutions strengthened and political normalcy returned, we might want to talk about the SA we want, not just the one portrayed in glossy magazines, but the one that will continue to embrace the spirit of Lembede, Lillian Ngoyi, Mda and Sisulu to continue with the mission of radicalisation and modernisation.
Those who betrayed this mission must not seek solidarity for their own missteps under the pretext of generational unity. Asizi (Count us out).
Maimela is a former president of the South African Students Congress. Kota is a former deputy secretary-general of the ANC Youth League.
– Sunday times