ANC suspends Carl Niehaus for 'attacking' senior party leaders

Outspoken MKMVA spokesperson refuses to comment

Carl Niehaus, who is the spokesperson for the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association, has refused to comment about his suspension from the ANC. File photo.
Carl Niehaus, who is the spokesperson for the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association, has refused to comment about his suspension from the ANC. File photo.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus has declined to comment on his suspension from the ANC after he attacked ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte in a recent statement.

“I do not comment on leaked letters,” Niehaus said on Tuesday morning when asked to comment on the letter sent to him informing him of his suspension.

When pressed further on the knowledge of the letter, he said: “Stop it. I am not commenting.”

In the letter addressed to Niehaus and dated January 19, ANC general manager Febe Potgieter-Gqubule reminds him he has been employed in the secretary-general’s office since March 2019 to give direct support to the work of the secretary-general.

She wrote: “You have been advised, on more than one occasion, that your public statements and social media posts are unbecoming of someone working in this high office, which has the primary responsibility of driving and coordinating the work of all structures of the ANC. You also received a written warning to this effect on October 12 2019.

“The latest statement, titled 'Personal statement by Carl Niehaus about his ongoing recovery from Covid-19 pneumonia', dated January 14 2021 (attached), crosses all boundaries expected from an ANC employee, and particularly someone of your seniority.

“In particular, the personal attack on the ANC deputy secretary-general in this statement is a serious violation of the ANC Personnel Policy Manual. ANC staff members are expected to abide by the discipline of the organisation, and personal attacks by a member of staff on elected leadership – without even attempting to address the matter internally – is unprofessional, is not tolerated and is in violation of the manual.”

The statement that has landed Niehaus in hot water is dated January 14.

In it he said: “It is sad that some in our society have become so hate-filled and vicious that one cannot even hope at a time of grave illness for support and sympathy.

“During the time I was fighting for my life, I was deliberately targeted by a well-coordinated, aggressive propaganda smear campaign against me in the Daily Maverick, Mail & Guardian, City Press, eNCA and other WMC [white monopoly capital] media. These attacks are continuing unabated.

“I am saddened that even the deputy secretary-general of the ANC, comrade Jessie Duarte, saw it fit to attack me and undermine my long history as a 42-year veteran of the ANC in good standing, as well as my elected position as an NEC member of MKMVA, and MKMVA national spokesperson.

“This she did knowing that when she was doing so, I was gravely ill. It was unnecessary and callous. I am deeply saddened by it.”

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