If a Tambo or a Mandela family member were to leave the ANC tomorrow and join another political party, the move should not be seen as a crime, according to struggle veteran Tokyo Sexwale.
Speaking during a radio interview on Power FM on Monday, Sexwale acknowledged that the ruling ANC was experiencing serious internal challenges.
He said they needed to be resolved after the local government elections on August 3.
“Obviously, it is painful to see one of us go to join a different party, but I think from a scientific point of view and a leadership point of view, the understanding is that South Africa was liberated for people to have choices and my choice is to continue serving the ANC,” Sexwale said.
“Tambo was 30 years abroad, the movement is here among the people and at the end of the day it is about the people … leaders come and leaders go, including us as individual members of the ANC.”
One of Oliver Tambo’s young family members reportedly endorsed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), while others in the family have “expressed their disgust with the ANC”, according to a Mail & Guardian report.
The paper spoke to members of the family in the Eastern Cape, one of whom, 57-year-old Toysie Tambo (the granddaughter of Tambo’s eldest brother Willie) “lives in a rundown RDP house” and accused the ANC of having forgotten them. She said she would vote for the EFF on August 3. She said it was because of “that boy” Malema, who “didn’t hide things”.
Mbeki must help
Commenting on his joining the ANC campaign trail, Sexwale said people should not think that elections were about hostility towards other people or exchanging insults.
“It is about service to the people and not about fighting for jobs, and all elected councillors and other government leaders should know that they are servants of the people and are not there to be bosses of the people,” he said.
Sexwale also commented on the uncertainty around former president Thabo Mbeki campaigning for the ANC.
“Thabo never said he is fighting the ANC and he remains a member of the ANC.”
EWN reported that Sexwale and another veteran, Mavuso Msimang, believe that Mbeki has an obligation to campaign for the party.
“He was born in the family of the ANC, it made him deputy president, it made him president of the ANC and it made him president of the country. At this stage we have a lot to give back to the ANC,” Sexwale was quoted as saying.
Sexwale was reportedly speaking at an ANC door-to-door campaign in Soweto over the weekend.
ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile has said that Mbeki’s endorsement would be a huge boost for the party’s campaign, with just over a week to go to election day.
Speaking at a rally in Sasolburg on Sunday, EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC’s move to ask former leaders to assist them in campaigning showed a lack of leadership in the party. Hence, there was a decision to try to recycle leaders, he said.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Mbeki’s spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said the former president remained a member in good standing of the ruling party.
“The Gauteng ANC provincial secretary, Hope Papo, can confirm this fact.
“Any information other than that provided by the ANC or the Thabo Mbeki Foundation in this regard has no factual basis and is most likely generated to impact on the outcome of the August 3 local government elections.”