There’s an old saying in Cape Town: “If you don’t like the weather here, just wait 20 minutes – it’ll change”. We’re starting to believe something similar needs to be implemented for the ANC. Malusi Gigaba, Nomvula Mokonyane and Faith Muthambi (who all left their most-recent roles in shame) have all been given a position on the same team.
“If you get told you’re not wanted by the ANC, just wait a few months – it’ll change”: The controversial trio have found themselves as integral parts of the ruling party’s latest project, which was proposed at the ANC NEC conference back in July and officially ratified this week.
Ex-YL leader Malusi Gigaba goes back to the start
The ANC’s Youth League has officially been disbanded. By February 2020, it will be replaced by a National Youth Task Team (NYTT) to be convened by Thandi Mahambehlala. The new group reads like a “who’s who” of controversial politicians, and Malusi Gigaba is the name which jumps straight off the page.
The disgraced former MP had to walk away from representing his party due to the fallout from a sex tape he shared and charges relating to perjury. However, it would seem that time heals all wounds, and Gigaba will be tasked with supporting the new youth framework ahead of next year.
Nomvula Mokonyane and Faith Muthambi’s current roles in the ANC
Then, we’ve got Nomvula Mokonyane. The former minister has already been redeployed to Luthuli House, but she also gets a spot on the NYTT. She went out in a blaze of infamy, after she was implicated in a bribery scandal at the State Capture Inquiry. Her record as Environmental Minister has also been slated to high heaven.
Then, just for good measure, a former Zuma ally and divisive figure is also part of the group. Faith Muthambi – another casualty of the Zondo Commission – gets a seat on the task team. She was recently hammered by an independent report into the practices of SABC, where Muthambi was accused of bullying and harassing employees.
Who is on the ANC’s National Youth Task Team?
Meanwhile, much-maligned ANC Youth League leader Collen Maine will be allowed to carry over his legacy from the disbanded organisation to the new one. Zizi Kodwa, Pule Mabe and even Fikile Mbalula have committed to the project, too. Perhaps they needed someone to run their Twitter account?
- Nathi Mthethwa
- Ronald Lamola
- Lindiwe Zulu
- David Masondo
- Pinky Kekana
- Senzo Mchunu
- Lulu Johnson
- Malusi Gigaba
- Fikile Mbalula
- Zizi Kodwa
- Faith Muthambi
- Nomvula Mokonyane
- Dakota Legoete
- Collen Maine
- Njabulo Nzuza
- Thandi Moroka
- Pule Mabe
- Febe Potgeiter
You can read the full ANC statement on July’s NEC here:
— African National Congress (@MYANC) September 26, 2019
Former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has come out guns blazing after a report from the inquiry into political interference in the newsroom at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) implicated her by name.
Politcal influence at the SABC
According to the committee chairperson Dr. Joe Thloloe, the commission found that the SABC suffered from the capricious use of authority and power to terrorise staff and to deflect the corporation from its mandate policies.
“We found an organisation crippled by pain, anger, and fear. By frustration, anxiety, and apathy. By inattentiveness, detachment, and helplessness,” he said.
While they were unable to find a clear and unequivocal link to Luthuli House, he said the “specter of the ANC” could be felt throughout the newsroom.
According to Thloloe, this could be most keenly felt when Muthambi and former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng traveled to Durban in 2018 to show support for then-President Jacob Zuma.
Former minister hits back
However, the former communications minister has reacted angrily to the report, criticising the fact that the commission never allowed her the opportunity to tell her side of the story.
“Ordinarily one would have expected people in these positions to have followed both their own code of conduct in carrying out this type of inquiry,” she said in a statement.
“It would have been just and honourable for the authors to contact me to hear my side of the story than to rubbish my name in this manner.”
Muthambi did not stop swinging either, saying that both Thloloe and Steven Tawana of MMM Attorneys had fundamentally failed in their professions by publishing the report.
“To date, no evidence has been produced to substantiate such claims. The latest controversy surrounding editorial practices at the SABC, unfortunately being made by an individual who has fallen out of favour with his employer, have also regretfully once again drawn our name and reputations into the fray,” the statement read.
“The authors draw parallels where there is none, between my political life which they show disdain at and investigations into the editorial independence of the SABC. Their hangover of former president [Jacob Zuma] clouded their judgment.”
Potential consequences fo Muthambi
Following the release of the report, the Democratic Alliance announced its intention to lay criminal charges against Muthambi for her involvement in interference at the SABC.
“The findings of the Commission of Inquiry, therefore, indicate Muthambi not only violated the Broadcasting Act which establishes the SABC as an independent institution but also that she misled Parliament during the SABC Inquiry in 2016. During her testimony she explicitly said she ‘never’ interfered in the editorial decision of the public broadcaster,” DA shadow minister of communications and digital technologies, Phumzile Van Damme, said in a statement.
While Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo admitted she may be removed as a member of parliament if the allegations are found to be true.
“We need to know what transgression was committed so we can juxtapose it to the right rules,” he said.
“The framework that governs the conduct of a member of parliament is cast from the ethics committee, the ethics code, the Powers and Privileges Act and so on.”
It looks like the fallout from an inquiry into processes and editorial conduct at SABC could prove to be nuclear. Shadow Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Phumzile van Damme has revealed that the DA will pursue criminal charges against Faith Muthambi, for exerting her influence over the broadcaster.
Why Faith Muthambi may face criminal charges for SABC role
Dr. Joe Thloloe, the chairperson of the Press Council commission of investigation into editorial interference at the SABC, said that the influence of the ANC “could be felt throughout the newsroom“, particularly when Faith Muthambi and Hlaudi Motsoeneng travelled to Durban in 2018 to support Jacob Zuma in his corruption case.
Muthambi was labelled as someone who gave instructions to the editorial team, despite having no mandate to do so. She is accused of abusing her political influence in order to gain favourable coverage from the state broadcaster – that includes getting puff-pieces about her constituency some air time.
Faith Muthambi accused of bullying
However, an uglier side to the whole sorry affair has since emerged: The report includes a paragraph that reveals a nasty streak within Faith Muthambi, saying that the ex-minister told a young journalist “she looked fat and that she wasn’t dressed appropriately.” This, despite the journalist wearing “appropriate clothing”.
It’s not the first time she’s been accused of bullying. Ex GCIS employee Phumla Williams told the State Capture Inquiry that Muthambi frequently picked on her. The witness said that working alongside Muthambi was akin to ‘torture’ and that her experience brought back memories of what the Apartheid government did to her.
Phumzile van Damme leads the charge
Van Damme has since come steaming in with her reaction, promising to throw the book at Muthambi for her apparent indiscretions. The DA representative has explained that she and her party will push for both a Parliamentary inquiry and criminal charges to be laid against one of SABC’s “looming spectres”:
“The findings of the Commission of Inquiry indicate Muthambi not only violated the Broadcasting Act which establishes the SABC as an independent institution, but also that she misled Parliament during the SABC Inquiry in 2016. During her testimony she explicitly said she ‘never’ interfered in the editorial decision of the public broadcaster.”
“The DA has laid a complaint with the Ethics Committee with regards to such violations by Muthambi while in office and her unsuitability to hold public office. We will also lay criminal charges against Muthambi for her violation of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act for misleading Parliament during the SABC Inquiry.”
Phumzile van Damme
Following the release of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into editorial interference at South Africa’s public broadcaster, @zilevandamme of the @Our_DA says the political party will lay criminal charges against the former @CommsZA minister, Faith Muthambi. pic.twitter.com/XsStgygxee
— TVwithThinus (@TVwithThinus) August 5, 2019