BLOEMFONTEIN: ANC secretary-general (SG), Mr Fikile Mbalula has fired warning shots at underperforming cadres, saying they must be given the boot.
Speaking at a Peter Mokaba memorial lecture in Bochabela outside Bloemfontein, he said those who cannot ensure service delivery must face consequences. He said the party needs “runners” who are motivated to bring change.
“Cabinet ministers must be busy, and it’s my job as the SG to tell the president lomntu ulele lo, makahambe [this person is asleep, they must go]. That’s my job. We must not speak a lot of English: ‘President, why are you keeping people who are sleeping on the job when we have an abundance of talent here?’ Sifuna aba gijimi [we want runners].”
Last week he told the media the party needs ministers and deputy ministers who are “work horses”.
He warned the time for “old people” sleeping in parliament was over.
“What we do not want is people who are not going to deliver. We do not want incompetence. That is non-negotiable. We want people who are going to do the work. We want a gender-sensitive government, a government that is youthful, that is running.
“We do not want people sleeping on the job. If the president is going to come with sleepers, he must forget [about] our support. There we are not going to agree,” he said.
In 2019, the Mangaung metro was placed under administration after service delivery collapsed.
“Why do we have a mayor in Mangaung whom we don’t know what he’s doing? Why? Why should we have a mayor, or anyone for that matter, when they are sleeping on the job,” said Mr Mbalula.
Mangaung is one of 10 municipalities Auditor-General, Ms Tsakani Maluleke in her latest report flagged as having ongoing concerns over a period of five years. Ms Maluleke said municipalities across the Free State had gone backwards in terms of meeting deadlines for infrastructure improvement projects.
The secretary-general also attacked ANC representatives who defied party discipline by voting with the opposition and those who leaked information about confidential meetings, saying they would be “trampled”.
“The moment to act and to act decisively is now. Anybody who serves as the mayor, or cabinet minister, must earn it.
“If you are a cabinet minister and you don’t work, why should we keep you there, sleeping on the job? Cabinet ministers must be busy, and my job as SG is to tell the President that certain people are sleeping and they must be fired,” said Mr Mbalula.
He cautioned that an era in which leaders thought they were untouchable as they occupied senior positions was over: “It’s over, we will touch them.
“We have reached a moment now in the ANC where we’ve got to be principled, we are not going to do things that will compromise the ANC. People are stealing, they are running down municipalities and they expect us to smile? It’s not going to happen,” he added.