MEET GAUTENG ANC'S TOP 5
For the record: ‘TK’ Nciza explains why becoming the ANC’s Gauteng boss chimes with being an ex-music mogul
Thembinkosi ‘TK’ Nciza speaks to Daily Maverick about his journey with the ANC, his passion for music and politics, his plans as provincial leader, and the trouble with Zahara, among other things. We also have the lowdown on the rest of the province’s new top five.
Newly elected ANC Gauteng secretary Thembinkosi “TK” Nciza – who shocked many when he was voted to lead by branches over the past weekend – believes it is not taboo to be active in the music industry and in politics simultaneously.
Nciza was exposed to politics at a young age but believes that without the influence of the arts the key messaging of freedom fighters would not have necessarily have appealed to young people.
This explains why Nciza has always tried to balance his passion for music with his dedication to politics. To many, he is the former TS Records executive who worked with some of the biggest music artists in the country, which is why some found it confusing when he was elected to be in the governing party’s Gauteng top five.
Speaking to Daily Maverick, Nciza gave an account of his long-standing relationship with the ANC.
“There is nothing wrong with the fact that I was a record label executive, just like a mine owner who is in politics and is a president [Cyril Ramaphosa] today.
“If music is able to influence people in a certain way or is able to bring a certain mood, then it becomes important and heals our people. As a nation, when we mourn we sing, when we are happy we sing, when we want to relay a certain message we sing. So did music find me in politics? Maybe it did, maybe not.
“One thing I know is that I was conscientised through music. When we were young we would be mobilised by songs sung by the elders. Spiritually, songs always brought our people close to the Struggle. We would sit in garages and get Umhabulo from the elders. They would always play Miriam Makeba and Letta Mbuli songs that were politically related, so I always took music as something I can relate to,” he said.
TK Nciza, the record label owner?
— gosiame (@ItsLeeto) June 27, 2022
Nciza was born in Gugulethu in the Western Cape, where he first witnessed his uncle serving in the underground movement of the ANC, but it was when he moved to Mpumalanga in his teenage years that he joined the Congress of South African Students.
“My family was deep in politics and in the trade union movement. I was exposed to a whole lot of things at a young age as well as being a member of the South African youth congress at the time. In 1996, at the conference where Malusi Gigaba was elected the youth league president, I was a delegate [at the conference] but I was never in leadership.
“In 2014, I was elected as the treasurer in the Ekurhuleni region, and then in 2018, I was elected as the secretary and then this time around as secretary of the province.”
Read in Daily Maverick: “Maile loses to Lesufi for ANC chair in Gauteng, but allies gain powerful secretariat positions”
Democracy brought new possibilities, including TS records, a company he owned with veteran musician and broadcaster Sbusiso “DJ Sbu” Leope.
“We were introduced to a brand-new culture which was introduced to people which I think played a huge role in mobilising young people… President Nelson Mandela would have said to young people at the time who were leading the ANC Youth League that you cannot say that you are leading society when critical people like [former Kaizer Chiefs soccer player] Doctor Khumalo, [popular Nineties Kwaito groups] Boom Shaka and Trompies are not a part of us,” he said.
Despite being elected alongside his competitors, Nciza says he is focused on his duties and will not entertain factional battles.
Read in Daily Maverick: “Trouble and strife cause yet another delay in ANC’s regional conference in Ekurhuleni”
Of the five leadership positions, three are occupied by newly elected Gauteng chair Panyaza Lesufi and his allies, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko and Morakane Mosupyoe, the deputy chairperson and treasurer, respectively. Nciza and Tasneem Motara, his deputy, were on Lebogang Maile’s slate.
“I have always been a disciplined cadre. I believe that the spirit of Peter Mokaba wants us to lead like this. From where I am, I do not think there is a crisis, and everyone needs to accept the results. From where I will serve the ANC with the people I have been elected with. Myself and comrade Panyaza are on the same page, our interest will be to make sure that we unite our organisation.
“The issue of unemployment should be at the centre of our agenda, the issue of crime, and we need to bring back the people who have left the ANC because of this or that, and we need to build a strong youth league which advocates for the interest of young people. When there is no youth league and no voice of young people, we will be in trouble.”
It has not been smooth sailing for Nciza in either his political life or his journey as a music executive.
Singer and songwriter Bulelwa Mkutukana, popularly known as Zahara, recently revealed she would be taking TS Records to court over royalties allegedly owed to her. Nciza believes the matter came to the fore in a conference year to smear his name.
In the ANC’s Ekurhuleni region, Nciza and his close ally and preliminary chairperson Mzwandile Masina have been accused of manipulating branch qualification guidelines to exclude branches who were not supporting them from the conference. The outcome of an investigation into their conduct has yet to be revealed.
Tasneem Motara, the deputy secretary, also grew up in a politically active home and started her journey with the youth league and the South African Students Congress. She worked her way up the party’s ranks, which was coupled with clinching the position of infrastructure development MEC in Gauteng.
While Motara keeps a low profile, she was at the centre of a Gauteng government Covid- 19 health infrastructure programme blunder. In 2020, the provincial government spent hundreds of millions of rands on field hospitals in anticipation of a Covid-19 surge which had already passed. Upon analysis, doctors felt the structures were not fit for purpose and warned that billions more could be wasted. Unfinished Covid- 19 infrastructure is being probed by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
The chair of the province, Lesufi needs little introduction since his role as education MEC has gained him public and media attention. Many have praised him throughout the years for his proactive stance on solving arduous problems in the provincial schooling system and his intolerance of racism. When there is a crisis, Lesufi will usually rush to the affected school to deal with the matter personally.
However, some have criticised his leadership style, saying his approach has been more of a PR exercise than a genuine attempt to deal with departmental issues. He was also recently slammed for a video in which he recommends a traditional Chinese remedy to cure Covid-19.
Lesufi was in hot water after 431 million was irregularly spent on sanitising schools. He referred the matter to the SIU for investigation and assets worth more than R60-million, of seven companies that had benefited from the irregular contracts, were frozen.
The deputy chairperson in the province, Nkomo-Ralehoko has extensive experience in the legislature. She was agriculture and rural development MEC for a mere month, then a one-day education MEC after an attempt by Gauteng premier David Makhura to reshuffle his cabinet.
The one-day stint was the result of a backlash from the public, urging Makhura to allow Lesufi to continue in the portfolio after the last general elections. Since then Nkomo-Ralehoko has been the finance MEC.
Mosupyoe joined the ANC in 2002 after having been approached by party members, and was elected to the Tshwane City Council in 2006.
She was thrown into the deep end in 2019 when the ruling party announced that she would be replacing Kgosientso Ramokgopa in Makhura’s cabinet after the ANC Women’s League had complained about the unbalanced gender representation in Gauteng.
The ANC’s highest decision-making body, the National Executive Committee, ordered Makhura to drop one male MEC and replace him with a woman.
In an executive council reshuffle in December 2020, Mosupyoe was appointed as social development MEC, in which position she has mostly faced criticism from the DA. Earlier in 2022, her department was slammed for spending R1-billion on paying salaries to workers at the Mohlakeng Old Age Home while the facility was not operational. According to Mosupyoe, the home had yet to be issued with an occupancy certificate since the building did not comply with health and safety standards. DM
Daily Maverick © All rights reserved