Opinionista Fikile Mbalula 6 July 2017

Judith February is perplexing

I am perplexed at Judith February's attack on me as having “spewed emptily”. This is so because the very answer I gave on the Peter Bruce question received a round of applause from the press corps there.

It seems Judith February is not quite aware I am not some milquetoast political activist and that when a question by a journalist is directed at me I will effectively deal with it. February is not the first to throw some insults my way, Andile Mngxitama was the first to do so over the same issue. Clearly, the issue I was addressing does not bother February as such, it’s “empty” to her. I take harassment of citizens very seriously and I’ll never think I’m being empty when I do my work to protect South Africans. I am perplexed at February’s attack on me as having “spewed emptily”, this is so because the very answer I gave on the Peter Bruce question received a round of applause from the press corps there. I suppose the over 100 journalists who had standing room only are fools to have applauded my response to a direct question asked by one of them.

Before the question and answer session, I delivered a 10 pages of media statement full of cogent policy proposals from our branches over Organisational Renewal and Organisational Design. If this was empty perhaps February as a self appointed oracle to the ANC can tell us all how we should think and how we should be and what we should write: clearly she knows more and better than our benches and leadership collective. Africans in particular are often referred to as “empty” headed.

The February solipsism would usually not require a response but because she also attempted to be a purveyor of ANC factionalism and internal discord in that she seeks to pit me against my comrades and it has to be dealt with. Discord inside the ANC has sponsors, the likes of February who have appointed themselves ANC experts. Indeed, in my presentation she says she attended, I was clear that her likes are not ideal for the ANC to function without any undue hindrance, new liberalism and classic liberalism is fighting hard to capture the ANC from its socialist inclination as such when liberal mouthpieces seek to demean our contribution as empty we do not get titillated into a frenzy but ask – “what is the politics of this”?

We are not shy to repeat that protesters must not trespass into people’s homes, be they politicians or journalists. Homes are private and our laws still protect privacy. We are not shy to repeat that persons who threaten or intimidate journalists are acting outside of the law as such law enforcement will be intolerant towards them. Indeed, my children’s home is my children’s home and any member of the public who may have an idea to visit my home for an illegal picket or protest will be violating my safety, privacy and peaceful living. February seems to take issue with that – I can assure her, and all, that that warning was not “empty” – as Minister of Police I am duty bound to make each South African feel and be safe. This includes all journalists. Private dwellings are private dwellings. The ANC takes media freedom as extremely non-negotiable.

Clearly February’s sinecure can afford her to offer us some snafu on this online publication. We are hard at work. What would assist us however, are new Februaries, those who care to read or listen to 10 pages of serious content over issues ANC and issues South Africa. If one does not read or listen to a 10-page media read-out and only hears an answer to one question, who do we blame for such a bloviated ignoramus?

Reputable news organisations covered my media statement well and professionally, unlike this February issue.

We are not able to assist February in her nihilism of myself – millions heard and understood our message. Her obscurantism is noted together with her attempt to deliberately mis-characterise and mislead the readers. Our media read-out is available – I welcome fair and balanced criticism of our statement and welcome suggestions on improvements of our policy positions as the ANC belongs to South Africans and the world. That is our ethos.

We accept criticism but we will not accept mis-characterisation of our messages. DM


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