South Africa: 'It's Not Helpful for South Africa' - Mahumapelo's Views On '9 Lost Years' Comments

Left: Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Centre: Former president Jacob Zuma. Right: President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Former President Jacob Zuma's staunch ally, Supra Mahumapelo, has pleaded with ANC leaders - those for and against Zuma - to stop debating his legacy in public.

Mahumapelo expressed his views just a day after Zuma took to Twitter to defend his nine years in office as head of state.

He was responding to recent comments made by his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni about the country's "nine lost years". Ramaphosa often indicated that the period was one in which the country and the ANC had lost their moral compasses.

But Zuma hit back via Twitter, posting that, when he took over as leader, he "never once blamed any predecessor or pointed to any perceived failing of any predecessor".

"I do not believe we have betrayed that trust and I remain proud of much of what we and the country achieved over the past decade. Could we have done more? Yes. Could it have been better? Yes. Was it a wasted decade? No," Zuma posted.

Mahumapelo spoke to journalists during a lunch adjournment at the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg where he and others are challenging the party's decision to disband the North West provincial executive committee (PEC).

He said he wished all leaders would not air their views on the matter.

"We will continue to face difficulties and we will make mistakes along the way and our responsibilities is to promise South Africans that we will forever work on improving on our mistakes, instead of pointing fingers," said Mahumapelo.

"Imagine if we started from Langalibalele Dube and point out every mistake that was there over the past 107 years, the ANC would not move forward," he added, referring to the party's first president.

Mahumapelo blamed some of the country's challenges on colonialism and apartheid, and acknowledged that there was no way of perfecting leadership.

Mahumapelo, known for his close relationship with the former president, said the blame game was not a direction South Africa should be taking.

"My request to the leadership of the ANC: Let's pause a bit, move away from this debate. It's not helpful for South Africa and the ANC," he said.

Can't stop people using my name

Mahumapelo insisted he had no links to the many political parties that were mushrooming across parts of the country.

Parties like the Mazibuye African Congress, the African Freedom Revolution, the African Transformation Movement (ATM) and the African Content Movement (ACM) have been launched recently - all having some link to former president Jacob Zuma.

The ATM has bagged the support of long-time ANC member Mzwanele Manyi, while former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng decided to establish his own party - ACM.

Mahumapelo was once linked to the Mazibuye African Congress before it decided to turn its NGO idea into a political party. However, he denies any links to the party.

"I will always remain a member of the ANC until I die. That is fundamental. It's not going to change and people will continue to link my name, for many years people continue to link my name. It's not going to materialise," said Mahumapelo.

When asked why he had not acted against those associating their organisations with his name, he said he had bigger things to worry about.

"It's up to them. I am not interested in what they are doing. I am just interested in the ANC winning in May," said Mahumapelo.

He added that it was important to keep the ANC united and relevant to South Africans.

"I can't be running after people saying this and that about me."

"It happens to me every hour of the day. Now it means if I do that, I am going to be defocused and not focused on the work I have to do as an ANC member," he continued.

Source: News24

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