Slain politician plea to Mbalula
SLAIN KwaZulu-Natal ANC politician Wandile Mkhize had asked Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to help him mend cracks within the party just hours before he was gunned down.
Mbalula, who is a member of the ANC's national executive committee, has expressed shock and sadness at the death of the former ANC Youth League member.
In an SMS sent to Mbalula on Saturday night, the ANC chief whip in the Ugu district municipality speaks of contestations for positions within the ANC and how the leaders need to unite.
"The more time we spend against each other the more we put our country in crisis. Am worried that if we collectively don't rise above what divides us, Mangaung will be worse than Polokwane and our movement and country will be at great risk," part of the SMS, which Mbalula confirmed receiving, reads.
"Mtchana I can [do] whatever I can to either bring JZ [President Jacob Zuma] on board, or some senior leaders of KZN. Our movement lost the likes of [Jabu] Moleketi and many brains after Polokwane, we can't afford to lose or sideline anyone anymore. We need u all."
The ANC Youth League is campaigning for Mbalula to be elected ANC secretary-general in December.
Yesterday, Mbalula told Sowetan that Mkhize, 34, had sent him several other SMSes where he raised concerns on divisions within the party, saying they must "take action on leadership issues".
These were a reflection of an interaction the two had when they saw each other at the four-day ANC policy conference last week.
"That SMS shows what kind of individual Mkhize was."
Mbalula said his interaction with Mkhize demonstrated that he was a "genuine comrade" who wanted to get rid of divisions in the party.
"He loved the ANC and didn't send the SMSes for anything else but the love of the ANC. He believed we didn't need to go to Mangaung in December and fight over leadership," Mbalula said.
"I obviously feel bad because I did not manage to reply."
Mbalula said he would pursue Mkhize's philosophy of unity, saying that was very important.
"We will have to sit and talk on the challenges within the party," he said, without going into details about the nature of these problems ravaging the ANC.
Mbalula said Mkhize was the last person he spoke to and hugged at the conclusion of the policy conference held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. He described his former youth league comrade as "very intelligent".
Mkhize was gunned down outside his Manaba home on Saturday night, barely an hour after his return.
It emerged yesterday that he had warned police that he was receiving death threats but this allegedly landed on deaf ears.
ANC South Coast regional secretary Mzwandile Mkhwanazi was one of the last people to see Mkhize alive when he dropped him off at about 10pm.
Police are investigating the killing. - firstname.lastname@example.org