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South Africa

Trevor Manuel blasts DA ‘cadre deployment’ and warns ANC it was doomed to ‘perish’ if it didn’t refocus

Trevor Manuel blasts DA ‘cadre deployment’ and warns ANC it was doomed to ‘perish’ if it didn’t refocus
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel in Davos, Switzerland, 28 January 2009. (Photo: EPA/Laurent Gillieron)

Anti-apartheid activist Sidima Kabanyane, the highly respected Drakenstein municipal manager, died on 1 November. At his funeral on Thursday, former comrade Trevor Manuel hit out at both the DA and the ANC for having failed to match the principled example set by the life of Kabanyane.

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel told the funeral of former comrade Sidima Kabanyane that unless the ANC learnt the lessons handed to it in the local government elections, it was doomed to “perish”.

Manuel was a close friend of Kabanyane, who died on 1 November at the age of 64. He paid tribute to Kabanyane, alongside former fellow UDF activist Noel Williams.

“The story of Sidima’s life is the story of a struggle to overcome,” said Manuel, recounting how Kabanyane went from a childhood spent on the “dusty streets of Mbekweni”, outside Paarl, to eventually obtain his PhD in organic chemistry from one of Canada’s most prestigious universities.

During the height of the struggle against apartheid in the 1980s, Kabanyane was a teacher by day and an Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) operative by night. He was kept in solitary confinement at Victor Verster prison in Paarl for 15 months. But it was at the prison, Manuel said, that the comrades used the time to plan for the future.


Referring to the apartheid government, Manuel said: “They did not understand that locking us up together would strengthen us. They did not understand that because they were a people without a vision, and their regime perished.”

Throughout his address, Manuel made reference to the Biblical words of Proverbs 29:18: “A people without a vision will perish.”

It is this fate that might also be in store for the ANC, Manuel warned, unless it can do as Kabanyane did and truly focus on governance aimed at improving the lives of the poor.

Kabanyane’s appointment as municipal manager of the Drakenstein municipality was his “dream job”. It was also, Manuel suggested, a “gift to the people of this valley” to have two people as qualified and capable as Kabanyane and his wife – Princess Gcwalisile Zulu-Kabanyane, also a PhD holder – willing to take up public office and serve.

But rather than being permitted to continue his work, Kabanyane was replaced by the DA as municipal manager – as part of the DA’s “cadre deployment”, said Manuel.  

“They say they don’t do [cadre deployment], but here we have the evidence of them doing it,” he said.

He also hit out at the ANC for the fact that Kabanyane – who Manuel termed “the original Thuma Mina” – was unable to find similar work elsewhere despite his evident skills and principled approach to public office.

“Sidima wrote an email to me in about 2015, and he said: ‘You know comrade, I feel like I’m being slowly killed because I can’t do what I love,’” Manuel recounted.

The former finance minister suggested that if individuals like Kabanyane were allowed to do the work they wanted in local government, the electorate might have returned a different result on 1 November.

To look at Kabanyane’s life was “to know how it’s done and to understand how we have been let down over the last decade”.

Manuel called corruption “the biggest threat to our future”, adding that those who are corrupt “do not steal from the rich; they steal from the poor and vulnerable; they steal from the black child”.

He called for corruption to be rooted out in Kabanyane’s name, warning: “A movement without a vision will also perish.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Mr. Manuel, one of the few ANC leaders I ever respected post Mandela. Well spoken words mr. Manuel. But it is time that a new political force take over, free of the past, focussing only on the people of this country, of all races, and creeds. Both the ANC and the DA simply have to many skeletons in the closet to self-correct, and the results of recent local elections is but a front-runner of what is to come in 2024

  • Gerrie Pretorius Pretorius says:

    Was tm not the finance minister when the arms deal took place? Was that not the first anc theft and corruption scandal that was made public? Was he not also an anc deployee? Just asking …. maybe the anc vision of ruling at all cost is catching up with it.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Mr. Pretorius, I have a great deal of respect of your opinion on several pieces posted before. Mr Manuel spoke at a funeral, recorded by the media, including DM. But rather than asking questions in your response, why do you not find out the answers yourself? It is not us as follow DM readers to answer your questions. But I sense your clouded opinion is simply because he made vague, but with very clear evidence, of cadre deployment at the DA

  • Just Me says:

    Trevor, what nonsense. The DA hasn’t practiced ‘cadre deployment’! It is your kleptocratic ANC that has practiced cadre deployment and the ANC has invested heavily in trying to derail the DA.

    Get your facts straight. The ANC will perish.

  • Coen Gous says:

    @Just me. By using a pseudonym your comment will be welcomed at News24, where virtually none are prepared to use their own names. But your comment shows your complete ignorance of real facts. No wonder the DA lost their majority in Saldanha Bay municipality (which I predicted beforehand, and where I reside) and are now looking for coalition partners. The DA mayor in that municipality, a certain Mr. Koen, with massive posters in any municipal office, does not only have a questionable reputation, with serious question marks surrounding him, but the DA also approved a statue to be erected for him. The brown folks here do not like him (neither do I), as this municipality has been on a sliding ground for the last 4 years, and hence did not vote for the DA. Neither did I (or anybody else). I can assure you this mayor was not elected by the residents in the area. So who can it be? Unless you can answer that question, do not post a comment like you did.

  • Elmarie Dennis says:

    Totally agree with gerrie and just me….i applaud the DA once again for being incorruptible. The party for ALL South Africans.

  • Laurence Erasmus says:

    South Africa needs a new broad based political organisation with leaders of integrity and vision, who do not have any ANC or DA political baggage and who are not tainted in any way by corruption and looting of public funds, to win a majority in 2024 and form a new government of national unity with a clear vision to rebuild a social, economic and political compact with all of its citizens. Miracles can happen!

  • virginia crawford says:

    Trevor Manuel was a good minister, but tainted by the arms deal. But he left! And all the old faces from 94 cling on! DA does parachute people in – the same as cadre deployment and part if the freedom they lost votes. Face that fact!
    It is the tragedy of this country that talent and integrity of someone like Mr Kabanyane is sacrificed on altar of political loyalty. Loyalty is often not a virtue, but a danger.

  • Just Me says:

    @Coen Gous – not quite sure of the specific (single) case you mention, and it may need scrutiny (which you should do), but it does not look like anything like the 27 years of blatant State Capture and crippling of the SA economy through the ANC’s cadre deployment system, which is naturally linked to the ANC’s blatant corruption and kleptocracy.

    Not to mention the areas of KZN and Gauteng where it is open assassination season and warfare come 12 months prior to the elections with many having been killed.

    So to mention the DA in the same breath as the ANC in terms of cadre deployment shows your head is firmly in the sand and your beloved Trevor Manual and his ANC are the real problem. Stop trying to post comments that are in the realm of being outright false.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Just Me. you second comment and insult refers. Like most people who uses a pseudonym they think it gives them the right to insult others. It is you that has your head burried in the sand. If your read my own comment, the first to respond to this article, you would have known exactly what my thoughts are, and I remain true to that very comment. The words beloved and respect has totally different meanings, in case you do not know. You are however correct in saying the ANC of today, and the last 12 years, is a real problem. However, Mr Manuel (not Manual) has long retired from politics, but during his time as Minister of Finance he was well respected by local and international investors alike, regardless of which party he supported at the time. If you read his speech well, you would also have noticed he was anything but complimentary of the ANC of today and the last few years. Your insult however defines your character, but I guess your pseudonym makes it easier for you to remain buried.

  • Hans Wendt says:

    Mmmmmm……and here we have Trevor, living in a glass house throwing at pebble at the DA. The ANC with Trevor and his corrupt cronies started the sad journey of cadre deployment, see SABC, SAA, ESKOM, DENAL and all municipalities outside the Western Province, as examples, then they started with those tender deals, fleecing the coffers with the arms deal, the Chancellor House deal with Hitachi, etc, etc. Billions now lost and the country destroyed. Thanks Trevor.
    Obviously as one party replaces another in a municipality they will bring in their own people.
    And Coen, take a chill pill. Why attack another commentator for having a different opinion. I’m not too sure if you would have been the school bully or the one who sucked up to the teacher.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    I agree with Just Me – The DA has NOT gone in for “cadre deployment. This is yet another attempt to smear the DA with catchwords as its policies cannot be smeared by logic. I am not entirely happy with some crew changes, but they were NOT “cadre deployment” by any stretch.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    Coen – I’m not sure why you’re so hung up on pseudonyms. I mean, how do we all know Coen Goes is your real name?
    The context of that old fraud Manuel’s comment on DA cadre deployment is a speech at the funeral of a so-called struggle hero who was replaced as municipal manager by a more competent person. The fact that our struggle hero could not find work anywhere after his replacement, not even in ANC circles, speaks volumes about the man’s competence.
    That fact that you replace an incompetent person with a competent one does not amount to cadre deployment.
    And Trevor WAS the finance minister at the time of the arms deal, and if you want to know the extent of his involvement, just follow the money – go find out who accompanied Mbeki on his trip to Germany to collect the U$30million on behalf of the ANC in 1998.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Macleod…my surname is Gous…not Goes

    • Rod H MacLeod says:

      Yes I know. Only spotted it after I hit “post”. Predictive text is a blessing and a curse. And may I suggest you review your own plentiful typos, i.e. remove the beam from your own eye before, shall we say, removing the splinter from mine?

  • Coen Gous says:

    Macleod, on the issue of Pseudonyms used by readers. What I find most interesting is that, generally speaking, DM readers mostly use their real names when commenting on an article, whilst those at News24 virtually always use pseudonyms. The other interesting observation is that the quality of comments on DM is generally speaking far superior to that on News24, where insulting other commentators and journalists is the norm, with the standard of commentating often bordering with those you find on social media platforms, certainly when it relates to political matters. As for my own name, simply google it, and you will find it with cell number and email address. Simply whatsapp me of email me making reference to this article, and see if I respond. I am not shy of my name. Would have preferred if it was Elvis Presley, but still comfortable with it

    • Sjoe – I thought this was the comments section, not the National Assembly…if only the combatants were as entertaining as MMA fighters in both. To diambiguate from my own perspective at least – cadre deployment happens. Everywhere – nobody except the guy who was born to shake the tree and Uncle Cyril have chosen to place outsiders in their cabinets. So the deployment quip as unpalatable to blue-blooded DA supporters stands. Has Mr Manuel covered himself in glory since the day Madiba called him to serve – not as much as his bank balance would show… the Peter Moyo debacle still haunts the rolls of upcoming court dates according to the news. Can the actions of those who took bribes and peddled their influence within the security cluster and corridors of power after the work day ended be his cross – I personally think that’s a far-fetched accusation – not only were Treasury and Finance ministry busy trying to shore up the woeful set of ledgers handed to them by their predecessors, there was also the planning of the RDP – again should TM be held accountable for all those who failed to follow what on paper was a plan that reaffirmed many folks’s belief in humanity – I don’t think so, but your opinions are your own. A generation is leaving us, many of their ideals have been achieved, and it’s up to those now holding the reigns not to (insert your choice of expletive) it up.

      • Coen Gous says:

        Sjoe, regardless, love your comment….this is what keep me reading DM and its comments by readers. Haven’t got a clue who you are, but you are incredible well-spoken. Not like me who still at my old age have to grab the google spelling check despite having my fair share of effort and time at a institution of higher learning

        • Flattery will get you everywhere sir.
          Have an awesome weekend, and let’s hope the “newsmakers” enjoy a quiet one
          – for the sake of heart health across the country.

          • Coen Gous says:

            Mr Pillay, my reply to you was extremely well meant, and it really hurts that you view it as flattery. But thank you for the well wishes….and ditto your same message to the DM team

    • Please accept my apologies – the “flattery” comment was meant in the best spirit and good humour.

      I will be more mindful whenever addressing you in the future; and remind myself that is a space where we all tend to be more literal due to it being such an adversarial place.

      • Coen Gous says:

        Of course I do. This whole article, with the criticism I received (and possibly dished out to others) did not sit well with me, and made me realise that when it comes to politics, or the parties readers support, is an extremely sensitive matter and one must be very careful when making any kind of comment. Regardless, you have a way of writing that really appeals to me. Keep well.

  • gavin0549 says:

    Talking about Cadre deployment, have we (Rebecca Davis) and others with selective memory, forgotten a certain Maria Ramos who was parachuted in as the CEO of Transnet, and subsequently into other influential positions in financial services whilst, also being the wife of a certain Trevor Manuel??

  • Dellarose Bassa says:

    Why, oh why, do all these ANC funerals turn into political mini rallies? What the hell was Trevor doing when his poor friend could not find employment ANYWHERE? Surely, with the networks he had built up, he could have given him some help?
    Why did Kabanyane -with his qualifications and claimed capacity – not seek employment outside of Government? God knows, one can achieve a great deal more, and efficiently & cost-effectively, without having to grease already grubby paws, OUTSIDE of the ANC Government with its endless negotiations with a million & one “stake-holders”/tenderpreneurs/gangsters/in-party trough-feeders/political factions/ arsonists bent on burning down the country/ looters stealing with complete & utter impunity/taxi-drivers/tribal chiefs/and a host of mushrooming fly-by-night organisations purporting to represent “our people”/ Gucci Communists/ wannabe revolutionaries (take your pick) & endemic consultation constipation in long-winded meetings with a battalion of bottom-feeders.
    Why wait for someone to die, to use a dignified/sad/joyous occasion (depending on who died & religious beliefs which generally dictate the deceased have achieved eternal peace/ rest in a “better” place) to sound off about your political observations? Where was TM all this time? The rot, now exposed by DM journalists & brave whistle-blowers started on his watch. Now he must accuse the DA of the disease of cadre-deployment. Why? To defend the indefensible ANC? Too late.

  • Helen Lachenicht says:

    Voting this month, for the first time ever I arrived not knowing where I would place my marks. In the end a small incident that involved two of the parties who had gazebos at the venue gave me a little direction. As with the 2021 elections, there is no current party that instils confidence in me for our National elections to come. Trevor Manual and other likeminded politicians should form a new party. The ANC is tainted beyond redemption!

    • Rod H MacLeod says:

      Manuel – not Manual. And he is a total ANC sycophant – he never, ever, not once, opposed the arms deal. Manuel’s 1999 budget speech – “Defence spending will grow moderately over the next three years recognising the need to replace and upgrade ageing capital equipment. The defence procurement programme is to be spread over a 15-year period. This programme has been linked to a number of industrial development projects which will boost foreign direct investment and job creation.”

  • gorgee beattie says:

    Two questions for the DA
    1) Why was Kabanyane replaced?
    2) Why was a “certain Mr. Koen” with “a questionable reputation” appointed/retained as
    Please comment

  • gavin0549 says:

    The relevant ‘fact’ Hermann is that Maria Ramos became a significant placement Executive, in a chosen environment, that was enhanced by her relationship with Trevor Manuel. Maybe a marriage of convenience? The actual dates are irrelevant! The saga continues . . .

    • Coen Gous says:

      Surely Maria Ramos was not appointed as CEO of ABSA because of her connections to Manuel. Or the many directorships she held since. Like Remgro, Sanlam, Richemont, SABMiller, Banking Association of South Africa, and many other roles in private companies and institutions. And het performance at SA Treasury, and Transnet was applaudable. As a woman she managed to be an exceptional person in her own right, and to even bring her into this discussion is quite frankly appalling.

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