South Africa

South Africa

The New Age, indeed: Self-appointed Zuma hatchet man pens racist attack on Ahmed Kathrada

A little-known KZN ANC ward councillor and prolific writer in defence of President Jacob Zuma has penned a vitriolic and defamatory public missive about respected ANC stalwart, Ahmed Kathrada, after his recent open letter asking Zuma to step down. The column, carried unsurprisingly on Wednesday in the Gupta-run The New Age, essentially suggests that Kathrada is unable to think for himself and suffers from “Gupta envy”. By MARIANNE THAMM.

Ever heard of Sizwe Cele? No? Really? Ah, come on! Here’s a hint. Ward 47? Still doesn’t ring any bell? You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could recite Cele’s contribution to the country’s hard-won democracy and freedom. At present Cele is an ANC Branch Treasurer of Ward 47 and ANC Zone Treasurer in Curnick Ndlovu Zone in KwaMashu, Durban. He doesn’t seem to be too busy and writes often in his personal capacity and usually in slavish defence of Jacob Zuma. The New Age is his choice of publication.

You would have no doubt heard of Ahmed Kathrada and former Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan, both ANC members who have been outspoken in their condemnation of President Zuma’s presidency. Both have called for ANC members to speak out against state capture and corruption.

In his column in The New Age on Wednesday Cele writes:

“Let me take you back to 2009 when Zuma appointed his first bunch of ministers. Among them was Barbara Hogan, who was appointed Minister of Public Enterprises. Hogan as a new Minister of Public Enterprises went on to fire a lot of senior black employees in state-owned enterprises and replaced them with white males. She earned herself a crown of being a media darling because the white-owned media likes anyone and everyone who removes blacks in leadership positions and replaces them with whites. Obviously when they do this they come up with some cover-up, nonsensical technical reasons which even some gullible black people believe.”

While we’re speaking of the gullible, Cele goes on that in “2009 I asked one senior comrade if the ANC could not see what Hogan was doing and why she was not recalled because she was reversing our gains of the past. Guess what this senior leader told me. He said they were aware of this but comrade Zuma was a man who had enormous respect for the ANC stalwarts.”

Cele lets out the well-known fact that this comrade “told me that Hogan was married to a stalwart, comrade Kathrada, hence Zuma viewed removing her as being disrespectful to the stalwart. This is an area in which Zuma must tread carefully”.

Hogan has recently revealed that she had been placed under pressure while still Minister of Public Enterprises to meet with Jet Airways, owned by the Gupta family. ANC former MP, Vytjie Mentor, also revealed that the Guptas had promised her Hogan’s ministry if she was prepared to offer them the SAA route to India. Both women refused and President Zuma later axed Hogan in a massive 2010 Cabinet reshuffle, replacing her with Malusi Gigaba.

Cele writes:

“Hogan did not take this reshuffle comradely, hence she became grumpy and resigned from Parliament. She becomes the first MP who reacted adversely to her ministerial redeployment. It was clear that Zuma had stopped her on a cause (sic) she was resolute on.”

Cele suggested that rather than out of genuine concern for the fact that the Constitutional Court had found President Zuma and the National Assembly had violated the Constitution, Kathrada had been motivated to write his heartfelt plea because he had taken Hogan’s axing “personally”.

He is putting his household interests above those of the land, thus misleading the nation. As a veteran leader he should be aware of the consequences of what he and his wife are calling for, in particular to the ANC.”

One can almost imagine Cele foaming at the mouth as he wrote this psychotic clincher:

No wonder the late Nelson Mandela remained the most distinguished leader among his peers until he departed this life. Unlike Kathrada, Mandela never pitted the ANC in favour of his wife, instead he did the opposite, he divorced his wife in favour of the ANC. It is sad that in spite of Kathrada spending so much time with Mandela he still never learnt from him. To learn from Mandela is to ask yourself ‘how would Mandela have reacted in the same situation?’”

And then one last salvo before he must have risen from his keyboard to stride out into the world like a colossus:

Therefore, I conclude that we cannot have one family fighting for their own family agenda to the detriment of the entire country, in particular those who claim to be against the Guptas. Otherwise we will be justified to assume that they envy the Guptas because they believe the Guptas have achieved what they themselves have failed to achieve, the so-called ‘state capture’. Hence anything that Hogan and Kathrada say is just sour grapes and reflects badly on them as their disdainful refusal to accept decisions from higher structures, especially if they do not favour their personal ambitions.”

Cele is no doubt expecting a rich reward for his stunning defence of the president and the Gupta family and his racist, defamatory and spurious attack on Ahmed Kathrada and Barbara Hogan.

Perhaps a Cabinet position? Perhaps not. Perhaps the dustbin of history. Will the ANC dare to discipline him publicly?

Meanwhile citizens beware. There are zombies among us. DM

Photo: Former president Nelson Mandela joins anti-apartheid veteran Ahmed Kathrada, on the eve of his 80th birthday in Houghton, Johannesburg, Thursday, 20 August 2009. Kathrada, who has known Madiba for 64 years, was joined by activist turned businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, not pictured, who is also the chairperson of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. Picture: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation.