Mavuso Msimang, a prominent leader in the anti-apartheid movement and deputy president of the ANC Veterans’ League (ANCVL), has tendered his resignation from the ANC. This act is considered by political analysts as a significant form of protest resignation, highlighting internal rifts within the organisation.

By Tshawe lama Tshawe

In what political analysts have described as a “significant protest resignation” from the ANC by anti-apartheid struggle stalwart and the party’s ANC Veterans’ League (ANCVL) deputy president Mavuso Msimang, internal cracks have begun to show in the organisation. 

Expressing regret over Msimang’s resignation, Snuki Zikalala, the president of ANCVL, stated on Thursday that the league remained committed to addressing instances of corruption within the party’s organisational framework.

Zikalala also expressed the ANCVL’s disappointment regarding the allegations made by the secretary general, Fikile Mbalula, accusing the ANC structure of “undermining the party”.

“As the ANCVL, we have and will continue to raise issues of corruption internally in the organisation.

“Further, we will continue to engage at the provincial and national level, in the list processes, to take a stand against individuals who are implicated in corrupt activities.

“This includes those fingered by the Zondo Commission – being part of election lists in provincial and national legislatures.

“We reject the allegation that by doing this, we are undermining the ANC.

“We believe this is the only path to renew the ANC and restore its legitimacy in the eyes of the public,” said Zikalala.

According to political analysts, Msimang’s resignation was a glaring indication of the ANC’s renewal process going completely awry.

Msimang, who dedicated over sixty years of “loyal and diligent service to the party”, caused a stir at the ANC Luthuli House headquarters by sending a candid letter to ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula in his role as a “citizen of South Africa.”

He voiced his discontent about:

  • The state of affairs in the party and government.
  • The ANC being “wracked by endemic corruption, with devastating consequences on the governance of the country and the lives of poor people”.

“When we took over the government in 1994, we had the moral high ground and the conviction that we would be able to root out the old-boy networks that strangled the apartheid economy.

“Yet, three decades later, the ANC’s own track record of corruption is a cause of great shame.

“The corruption we once decried, is now part of our movement’s DNA.

“This has had dire consequences for the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Msimang.

Independent political analyst Sandile Swana said ANC self-correction was “impossible”.

 “Criminals are winning in taking total control of the ANC, with the party’s renewal failing. It will not succeed.

“Mavuso asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down on account of the Phala Phala scandal, but the ANC NEC (national executive committee) decided to close ranks – rubbishing Justice Sandile Ngcobo and his erudite team.

“Many coverups by Ramaphosa, have been tolerated, with him having tolerated many misdemeanours and corruption scandals by ANC leaders.”

Swana further added that Msimang: “knows that all efforts to rescue the ANC from the criminal syndicates, is doomed”.

Policy analyst Dr Nkosikhulile Nyembezi said the ANC lacked “the authority to enforce party renewal conference resolutions and that many of its members are responsible for not listening”.

“Many ANC members have given up already – mostly privately.

“Msimang’s justified resignation letter is an extreme example of a broader problem.

“Much of the party elite might now dismiss his letter as sour grapes at not getting a peerage, but it is not quite so simple.

“The letter accusing the ANC of suffering from endemic corruption, with devastating consequences on the country’s governance and the lives of poor people, lands some genuine blows.

“As he says, three decades after democracy, the ANC’s track record of corruption is a cause of great shame as the corruption we once decried is now part of our movement’s DNA. 

“Msimang leads a chorus of voices from within a party that agrees with what it stands for or loves what it knows but is repelled by the corruption that has crippled the party and the country.”

University of South Africa political science professor Dirk Kotze said Msimang’s “protest resignation” was “very significant”.

“He is an ANC veteran, served as former personal assistant of Oliver Tambo, CEO of the National Parks Board and deputy president of the Veterans League.

“The league has a reputation of trying to protect the moral standing of the ANC – speaking out on such matters as corruption.

“This is a major setback for the ANC, meaning that those things the party has claimed – like making progress in fighting corruption and reclaiming its moral standing – are not making an impact.

“President Ramaphosa needs the moral support of someone like Mr Msimang to do what he wants to do.

“This is likely to raise serious societal concerns about a party with a mission to rid the country of corruption.”

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