Tambo never called any ANC member ‘special’

We now have the broad picture of the personality of Pastor Evan Mawarire and the developments in Zimbabwe.

Wow! What an inspiration. Mawarire, fighting with his cellphone and Zimbabwe’s flag draped around his neck, has overtaken Zimbabwe’s politicians a hundred times over.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s politicians are nowhere to be seen or heard in giving praise to this bold and courageous young man. Politicians think it is only themselves who deserve to be on the political platform, but Mawarire has brought hope to the people of Zim.

For Gwede Mantashe, the ANC secretary general, to even attempt to blame so-called agent provocateurs for events in Zim is totally irrelevant.

I wonder, does he realise how much like Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe he sounds? In fact, he even preceded him with this disingenuous claim.

Mugabe only this week mentioned Mawarire publicly by name. He claimed the pastor who called for a nationwide protest against government corruption and abuse was “sponsored by foreign countries”. And Mugabe said the Harare pastor should “live in the countries that sponsor him”.

“Beware these men of cloth, not all of them are true preachers of the Bible. I don’t know whether they are serving God. They spell God in reverse,” Mugabe went on to say.

But everyone knows that the ANC, South Africa, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community have failed the people of Zim with their silence.

Mantashe has no mandate to interfere in the internal political affairs of Zimbabwe. He is also obviously out of touch regarding the political situation in Zim and is carelessly suggesting that the Zimbabwean people must continuously endure under the yoke of Mugabe.

He doesn’t understand how these political heroes, many in exile, operate. He has chosen to close his eyes and ears so that he can continue filling his stomach.

Does he really feel what it means for 85-90% of the population to be unemployed? To have children and the majority of the nation living daily with empty stomachs? Let Gwede concentrate on the affairs of South Africa.

ANN7 TV news reported last week that a huge haul of contraband cigarettes entering from Zimbabwe at Beitbridge amounted to a loss of millions of rands for South Africa.

Reports said South African and Zimbabwe soldiers and police were involved in this corruption, plus SA Revenue Services officials.

It was also said the soldiers and police wouldn’t divulge information because they know that Zimbabwe government officials are the culprits.

But that is their business.

A South African economist on the ANN7 panel discussing this matter said he was afraid the nicotine levels in these dodgy cigarettes are not controlled.

This means the health of South African cigarette smokers may be even more at risk. And if they are affected taxpayers will have to bear the brunt of even more medical bills for such individuals. Meanwhile poor people will continue being worse off because the money which is supposed to improve their well-being will be channelled to medicines.

The world is on fire! Within a week we witnessed the tragedy in Nice, France, the failed coup d’etat in Turkey, and the ongoing crisis in South Sudan, where more than 300 people died in clashes between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice President Riek Machar.

The service delivery protests show South Africa is not exempt from this phenomenon. We must put our own house in order.

And there is much to do. Just this week eight SABC journalists – now sacked – said in court statements that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, SABC’s chief operating officer, had told staff President Jacob Zuma was “SPECIAL” and therefore should not be questioned in the same way as other leaders. In the 16 years I served in the ANC in exile, OR Tambo never told me that any ANC member was “SPECIAL”.

Hlaudi, please stop misusing my TV licence money at the SABC to challenge journalists at the Constitutional Court.

In 1912 the ANC was formed to fight the apartheid regime’s injustices. Our struggle came to include the misuse of the SABC for propaganda purposes. But now in 2016 the ANC repeats these injustices. Surely the apartheid architects would be happy to see this.

My observation is that we are back to the apartheid days where we were forcefully denied the right to air our views.

I am waiting to hear a voice of reason from Luthuli House that will actively correct the damage at the SABC.

Olefile Samuel Mngqibisa was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe in exile in Angola, Zambia and Tanzania. He conducted MK cadres across the Zambezi River