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By unknown | May 25, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Zukile Majova

Zukile Majova

THERE is no doubt that former ANC Youth League president and head of the ANC's election campaign, Fikile Mbalula, played a significant and meaningful role in getting President Jacob Zuma elected as both the party's and the country's number one.

So it was no surprise that just before the announcement of the new cabinet his deployment was a matter of rife speculations.

Given the demands made by some ANC Youth League members that they needed a "vibrant and youthful minister to drive the 2010 campaign", there was speculation that he would be appointed Minister of Sports.

There were even those who suggested that Mbalula would stay at Luthuli House with his eyes eventually on the key position of general secretary. One reader even wrote letters in Sowetan predicting that Mbalula would in future become ANC president.

His appointment as deputy to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa comes with the unenviable task of combating the scourge of crime eating the moral fibre of South African society.

One of the reasons proffered as to why the Ministry of Safety and Security was changed to Ministry of Police is that "the police's posture must be such that they are not going to tolerate any criminal activity".

Essentially this means that "safety and security" sent a too soft message to the criminals.

Mbalula says as a team, with Mthethwa, they have a war plan for the criminals. He will share it with colleagues at the coming cabinet lekgotla. Though not prepared to reveal details, Mbalula says the plan is aimed at "taking the war to the criminals".

"Firstly, let me not hide the fact that I am excited about the new responsibility given to me. I thrive on challenges because I learn quickly.

"Comrade Nathi has laid a foundation we should build on. Together with communities, the business sector and those in the police service we should show no mercy to criminals. It is criminals who have to be on the run not the police or the community," Mbalula says.

He says part of their multi - pronged crime fighting strategy should include a youth service.

"Young people need to be active at all times. Idle minds are the workshops of evil.

"When ideas like street committees come into place they should find a society in action one way or the other. Those who falter we will arrest and rehabilitate and those who do not want to change will rot in jail."

Throughout his career Mbalula has proved to be a capable leader who leads from the front.

He refers to himself as "an organiser through and through".

His organising and mobilising skills should stand him in good stead when it comes to bringing the community to the party.

Mbalula says both Mthethwa's and his (both ANCYL graduates) deployment to the ministry is a vote of confidence in the younger generation of ANC cadres.

Given his high position on the national parliamentary list (no 11) and his role in keeping Zuma's political career alive against all odds, it was wildly expected that he would be "rewarded" with a senior post as minister and not as a deputy.

Mbalula responds by saying he subscribes to the laws of development.

"I do not believe in overtaking other people. I know that if I continue to learn from those who came before me my time will come."

"My ambition is to make a positive contribution to the ANC's desire to see its policies translated into action.

" My other ambition is to continue adding value to the building of our beloved movement."

Mbalula is arguably most famous, or notorious, depending on which side of the fence you are on, for his role in diminishing Thabo Mbeki's hopes of a third term as ANC president.

During his time as ANC Youth League president his no-holds-barred attitude in defence of Zuma, then ANC deputy president, catapulted him to cult status. In some quarters this gained him many enemies.

Others saw his actions as career limiting and to some he was simply putting his life in danger for a man who to some by then was just a political liability.

Mbalula is quick to quell rumours that he took instructions from Zuma himself and other ANC leaders. He says whatever he did during that period was in the name and on behalf of the Youth League.

His support for Zuma has always been "a matter of principle as he does not believe in political expediency", says the fiery former ANCYL leader.

Mbalula is not shy to admit that he has never enjoyed a cosy relationship with Thabo Mbeki and that they met or talked only at the party's constitutional structures.

There was no way the league was going to let the party's constitution be changed "just to accommodate a few individuals with uncontrolled ambitions", he says.


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