ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has hit back at ActionSA's Herman Mashaba for banning the use of the term “comrade” in his party. Mabe says this stance by ActionSA demonstrates a lack of understanding of its meaning.
Mabe said ActionSA's “populist manoeuvres” were deliberate attempts to mislead the public.
“Comrade has been used within progressive movements across the world for many decades to convey a sense of common purpose, shared values and solidarity. Within the ANC and a broader democratic movement, the word continues to hold that meaning,” said Mabe.
Mashaba said on Monday the use of the word “comrade” is not allowed in his party as it is synonymous with “thuggery and thievery”. Instead, ActionSA leaders must refer to themselves as “actioners”.
“The term 'comrades' is banned in ActionSA. Comrades are thugs and thieves. If anyone calls you comrade, you refuse because they only call you comrade when they want to corrupt you.
“We are not communists, comrade is a communist term. In ActionSA, we are 'actioners',” he said.
Mabe said Mashaba's attempt to associate the term with thugs and thieves is a disservice to comrades within the ANC who have fought against corruption.
“It is an insult to those committed cadres who, often at great risk to themselves, have exposed wrongdoings in SOEs, municipalities, companies and other institutions. It is an insult to the overwhelming majority of ANC and alliance members who steadfastly reject all forms of corruption,” he said.
ActionSA was unmoved: “Thugs and thieves telling us their comrades are not thugs and thieves,” it said.