I won’t be part of those who steal – Phosa

Mathews Phosa, who has his eye on the ANC presidency, has warned looters of state resources that he would throw them in jail should he be elected president of the party in December and the country in 2019.

Phosa was in Shatale, outside Bushbuckridge, yesterday where he unofficially launched his campaign at an Oliver Tambo memorial lecture.

He tore apart President Jacob Zuma’s administration for having not launched an investigation into the leaked Gupta emails.

“The Guptas steal every day and nothing happens. When president Zuma is asked about the activities of the Guptas he says we must go and ask them. Who is the president?

“The people of this country must rebel against corruption. If I am elected president, I will throw them in jail,” Phosa said, adding that Zuma was shameless.

'The best man or woman must win'

The former ANC treasurer-general said struggle icon Tambo would be shocked if he were alive to see what was happening.

“If he was still alive, he would say this corruption in the country must be investigated. OR Tambo fought in the struggle for all of us … not for Duduzane [Zuma’s son] or his own son, Dali. Zuma is a naked emperor,” Phosa said.

He also said that it was a shame that the Marikana massacre happened under an ANC-led government.

He said the killings had highlighted the mine workers’ struggle for decent salaries and proper housing.

Phosa said that he had established campaign teams in Mpumalanga’s four regions to help him reach out to ANC members and communities.

The start of Phosa’s campaign in the Eastern Cape a few weeks ago was a low key affair.

In Shatale, Phosa addressed about 100 supporters wearing his #Siyaphosa MP 17 T-shirts. Organisers blamed the low turnout to the lecture on the ongoing initiation season.

Though Phosa is a former premier of the province, support for him in Mpumalanga has dipped in recent years.

Current Premier David Mabuza is in control of the province’s ANC structures and has become the most sought after man by presidential hopefuls who are courting him.

Mabuza wants to be deputy president but has kept his preferred presidential candidate close to his chest over concerns that factions were wedging divisions between members of the organisation. He has advocated for new leaders to be elected in December based on consensus or an agreed-upon process by all delegates to avoid divisions.

Phosa, however, had a different view, and said as many as 10 candidates should contest the presidency.

“The ANC is a democratic party and the best man or woman must win,” he said.

He warned that if leaders were elected based on some sort of arrangement, ANC branches would be denied a voice and die.

“We must unite the ANC on a basis of values and principles. I am not going to be part of those people who steal and then say let’s unite. I’m not part of a populist ANC, and when we don’t agree on good governance, I’m not part of that,” he said.

Phosa’s chief national campaigner, Andile Lili, did not mince his words, and labelled Mabuza a killer and accused fellow presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of having brought the Guptas into South Africa when she was foreign affairs (now international relations) minister.

“Don’t be afraid of DD [Mabuza]. Robert Gumede [businessman] is dreaming when he thinks Mabuza can be the country’s deputy president. Can DD really pass through the eye of the needle?” Lili asked.

He said it would be pointless to elect Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa because “he would exchange the Guptas for the Ruperts”.