Former Transkei military ruler and the president of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) Bantu Holomisa says he took a principled stance to expose the R2-million bribe to the then Transkei homeland cabinet headed by the late Stella Sigcau, as he had always been a fierce anti-corruption crusader.
Speaking to the public broadcaster ahead of the launch of his biography in Hyde Park on November 21, Holomisa said his then ANC comrades completely misunderstood his presentation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
“I was there to ask the TRC to compensate the families of deceased soldiers who were killed in an abortive coup in 1990 on the occasion of [Lieutenant-General] Matanzima and [Stella] Sigcawu approaching Pretoria to remove us forcefully, hence it was backed by De Klerk and his soldiers.
“On that score, I said, compensate those families. I gave a brief background on how we came into power. We came into power by finding out Sol Kerzner gave R2 million to the entire cabinet of Transkei. When they said I must apologise, I was said, for what? I said, go jump!” he told Morning Live earlier this morning.
Holomisa said he was never going to apologise “for making a reference to a historical event” even if it meant losing his public position or membership of the ANC.
He said on Nelson Mandela’s advice eight days after his expulsion from the ANC, he decided to “play by the rules” and leave the party because the comrades clearly did not “want him” any longer.
The MP said his royal upbringing, where he was duty-bound to interact with almost everybody in his area, taught him the value of not burning bridges, which is partly why he was “kind” in his portrayal of some ANC leaders in the book.
“In this book, I have been kind to my former comrades. I also printed my response which I published in 1997 [in response to a pamphlet penned by Jeremy Cronin called ‘The Rise and Fall of Holomisa’]. In this book, he [Cronin] is regretting saying Holomisa should not have been fired.
“We were the only homelands that offered a safe haven to liberation movements,” Holomisa said, and added he provided military support to uMkhonto weSizwe combatants.
He said he was not prescriptive to his family members on which careers to follow, as he was “the only politician in the family … there is no way I can parade my family to UDM and say, this one must be given positions”.
“I don’t even know if my son and daughter vote for UDM. As former Sasco members, they are perhaps still brainwashed into voting for the ANC.”
He was optimistic about the country’s maturing democracy when asked how he related to the ANC outside parliament, particularly in the days after he spearheaded a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.
He said neither he nor his party had ever “declared war with the ANC”, and added immediately after rowdy debates in parliament, they still socialised across party lines in “restaurants” and “golf courses”.
The book launch will be held at the same venue where, during veternan journalist Jacques Pauw’s discussion of the latest break-ins into the offices of chief justice in Midrand and a wave of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal without any “breakthroughs”, the power supply to the mall and the venue mysteriously blew out.
The discussion and book signing nevertheless continued.
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