Media misrepresented my remarks - Carl Niehaus

Instead of bickering, focus must be on speedy and effective expropriation of white owned land without compensation


Date: Friday, 6 July 2018

Never shoot from the hip, nor “erupt like a volcano", to use the colourful imagery that comrade Fikile Mbalula is so partial to... In my fourty years as a veteran of the ANC, and many years of media experience, I have learnt not to allow journalists with their own anti- ANC agendas to excite me, and work me up with miss-representations and deliberately incomplete and selective quotes in order to pitch me against a fellow comrade. A golden rule is to give yourself enough time, and respect yourself and your fellow comrade enough, to acquaint yourself fully with what he or she said before you comment. In doing so one can avoid becoming an inadvertent tool of division and destruction in our beloved Movement.

This is the comradely advice that I would like to give to my younger brother in the struggle, comrade Fikile Mbalula. I do so respecting him as my leader by virtue of his membership of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC, and acknowledging him as a talented, though somewhat volatile, member of the ANC leadership collective. If comrade Mbalula had followed this advise, and listened to my full speech at the Imbizo that his Majesty King Zwelithini held on Wednesday the 4th of July 2018 at Ulundi, he would not have allowed himself to be excited and mislead by journalists of the mainstream media who are in the employ of White Monopoly Capital, into launching an entirely unwarranted attack on me.

For the enlightenment and information of comrade Mbalula, and the journalists who carried his attack on me, they can follow the following link to listen to the full version of the short speech that I made at the Imbizo. They will note that I have not claimed to speak with a mandate on behalf of the ANC or MKMVA.

Nor did I attack/ criticise the ANC's position concerning the Ingonyama Trust. In fact I was at pains to clarify that the ANC has not taken any formal position with regards to the Inkonyama Trust, nor on the recommendations of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change. This I did because as the Imbizo progressed it became clear to me that a very wrong and highly damaging perception was gaining ground that the ANC was negatively disposed to the Ingonyama Trust, and had accepted the recommendations of the High Level Panel - neither of which are correct.

As a loyal and longstanding member of the ANC I felt that these very damaging misconceptions had to be corrected as a matter of urgency. When participants at the Imbizo were invited to make inputs, I took the opportunity of that invitation to address the Imbizo and state unequivocally that the ANC is NOT negatively disposed to the Inkonyama Trust, and had NOT accepted the findings the of the High Level Commission.

This necessary clarification and correction was warmly accepted by his Majesty King Zwelithini and the gathered Amabutho, which I (and I believe the ANC) should highly appreciate and be grateful for. For reasons unbeknown to me the ANC leaders who were present at the Imbizo, including ANC NEC member and Minister of Police, comrade Bheki Cele, regretfully did not see their way open to stand up and make this simple, but very necessary clarification.

I did express my dismay with the very unfortunate remarks of comrade Kgalema Motlante when he had said that traditional leaders behave like "tin pot dictators", and personally apologised. I did so because I believe that these remarks were ill-conceived and poisons the atmosphere in which the ANC, Bayete and his Amakhosi have to engage as a matter of urgency with regards to the expropriation of land without compensation in general, and in this context specifically the Inkonyama Trust.

As an individual member of the ANC I cannot force comrade Motlante, nor comrade Mbalalu or the ANC to apologise for the insulting “tin pot dictators” remarks, but I would like to - once again - plead with them and my beloved organisation to do the right thing, and apologise in order to clean up the entirely unnecessary poisonous atmosphere that that these remarks have created, and to clear the air for a process of constructive engagement between the ANC and traditional leaders. Among the founding fathers of the ANC were some of the most respected traditional leaders in our South African society. That history must always be respected and maintained with reverence in our beloved Movement.

Lastly I would like to urge all of us who are committed to the full implementation of the Resolution of the Expropriation of Land without Compensation that was taken at the 54th National Conference of the ANC, to focus on the main issue that is the return of the 70% plus of the land still owned by whites to its rightful black (primarily African) owners, from whom it was stolen by white colonists.

It is a diversion, and very wrong, to concentrate on the small pockets of land (less than 30%) currently owned, and under the control of black South Africans including the Inkonyama Trust, and to waste valuable time, resources and good will for black South Africans to bicker among themselves and loose focus about the critical challenge which must be the speedy and effective expropriation of white owned land without compensation. It is the deliberate intention of the current white owners of the land to create and orchestrate this situation. It is the duty of the ANC, as the leader of society, to do everything possible to avoid this from happening.

Issued by Carl Niehaus, a loyal and longstanding member of the African National Congess, in my personal capacity, 6 July 2018