SHILOWA HAS ELASTIC AMBITION, SAYS VAVI
Anna Majavu and Kingdom Mabuza
Anna Majavu and Kingdom Mabuza
The ANC has adopted the dual strategy of treating the fledgling Mosiuoa Lekota-Mbhazima Shilowa splinter group as a nonstarter but still seriously enough to mobilise its members against joining the new formation.
After Shilowa's announcement yesterday that he was formally associating himself with the cause of the new movement, the ANC and its alliance leaders roundly dissed the former Gauteng premier - but also announced they would not rest on their laurels while the new party mobilised support.
Zwelinzima Vavi, who replaced Shilowa as Cosatu general secretary, said: "His biggest problem has always been his elastic ambitions and a huge ego."
Two of Gauteng's biggest ANC regions have lashed out at Shilowa, but restated their belief that the ANC support in the province remained unchanged.
"Shilowa's views about the decision to recall former president Thabo Mbeki have no resonance among members and leaders of the ANC in Gauteng," said Amos Masondo, Johannesburg mayor and chairman of the ANC's Johannesburg region.
Masondo said Shilowa's resignation was "welcomed" because his behaviour recently was "both unacceptable and untenable".
In a veiled reference to the speculation that ANC members seen at Lekota-Shilowa meetings could also be suspended, Masondo said the provincial executive committee "will not hesitate to bring to book any member who does not abide by the constitution of the ANC".
Ekurhuleni mayor and ANC Ekurhuleni chairman Ntombi Mekgwe told Sowetan that Shilowa had "betrayed communities".
"I am disappointed. His action has undermined the community who trusted him as leader of the region," said Mekgwe.
Shilowa pre-empted his critics earlier in the day when he told the media that he would not be responding to "insults and vilification by people who a few days ago regarded me as one of them".
Cosatu's Gauteng secretary, Siphiwe Mgcina, said: "We will convene general meetings in all factories, institutions and communities to ensure that our members understand and defend the national democratic revolution."
Meanwhile, Shilowa has opened up a can of worms by calling for all private funding to political parties, "above a certain threshold", to be disclosed.
Shilowa made the call at a press conference where he threw his weight behind Lekota's call for a national convention that could lead to the launch of a new party.
Shilowa said he began calling for private funding to parties to be disclosed after last year's Polokwane conference.
The DA and ANC have in the past ruled out disclosing who funds them, but the DA's Ryan Coetzee said they were prepared to disclose their donors if there was a law compelling parties to make disclosures.
The ID and UDM said they had always wanted political party funding to be "open and transparent".
The UDM's Bantu Holomisa said: "We need laws to regulate party funding. We can't allow this country to be sold to the highest bidder."
The Institute for Security Studies' anti-corruption unit head Hennie van Vuuren said that by not disclosing their funders, parties "undermined democracy by favouring the rich and well-connected by giving them access to state resources. Organised criminals were able to use party funding to buy political power".
Van Vuuren said it was "significant that former officials such as Shilowa were calling for private funding to be disclosed".