Mbalula flays the Mandela Foundation

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

ANC election campaign chief Fikile Mbalula has lashed out at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, saying the organisation was undermining Nelson Mandela's commitment to the ruling party.

A frail-looking Mandela appeared with ANC president Jacob Zuma at the rally two weeks ago - years after retiring from active politics. His appearance was seen as a boost for the ANC election campaign and Zuma's drive to become president.

Mbalula said it was an insult for people to question Mandela's commitment to the ruling party.

"They should have known because it was the old man's wish to attend. No ANC leader seeks permission from family or foundation to meet Madiba," he said.

Mbalula insisted that Mandela voluntarily joined the ANC election rally in Dutywa last week. He said there were no plans to parade Mandela in future election campaigns.

He was responding to reports that the foundation had accused him and Mandela's grandson Mandla of putting the struggle icon's health and security at risk to parade him at the ANC rally. The foundation said it was not informed about Mandela's trip so as to make the necessary arrangements for him.

Mandla also angrily responded to the reports, saying he did not need permission to accompany his grandfather to the rally.

On Saturday, an angry Zuma told supporters at a rally in Khayelitsha that the foundation did not own Mandela.

"Madiba does not belong to a foundation but to the ANC. His appearance at an ANC rally is a matter for Madiba and the ANC, not the media," said Zuma.

Yesterday Mbalula also said the ANC was still keen to have former president Thabo Mbeki helping in its election campaign.