BY CHINA DODOVU
ON the eve of the deadline set by the National Executive Committee (NEC) to all ANC members who have been charged with corruption or other serious crimes to step aside within 30 days, I feel morally and politically obliged to share my own personal experiences with a view of persuading such members to comply with a resolution of the highest decision-making body in between the national conferences.
In 2013 when I was the ANC Provincial Deputy Chairperson and the MEC for Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs in the North West province, I was arbitrarily removed from all the positions I held, and also my ANC membership was summarily suspended.
The reason for such arbitrary, cruel and drastic action against me was because I was arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder and the murder of cde Obuti Chika, the late Regional Secretary of the ANC in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
From the word go, it was clear and obvious to me and to many other people across the broader spectrum that the charges preferred against me were spurious, trumped-up and part of a political scheme hatched to besmirch my reputation and to stop me from elevation to any position of significance.
The day I was arrested, I pointed that the arrest was politically motivated and concocted to suffocate and deal with me for the political views I held in the North West province and towards the 2012 Mangaung national conference. It was clear that some North West ANC leaders were using the state machinery and all its law enforcement apparatuses to persecute and prosecute me.
From the beginning, it was clear that the state’s case was very weak and non-existent. It just pointed to an unholy alliance between some ANC politicians, the police and the prosecution, vindicating my conviction about an orchestrated dirty tricks campaign unleashed against “opponents” including Kabelo Mataboge, the then ANC Provincial Secretary in the North West.
The most painful part of that episode was when my daughter, Duduzile was mocked and ridiculed by her classmates and peers at school that I was a murderer who was to rot in jail and she would never see me again. She cried bitterly and I was deeply touched and cried too.
During the court proceedings, I totally discredited the cowardly, miserable and treacherous lies which were hurled against me, revealed with irrefutable evidence the horrible, repulsive agenda the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) perpetuated and showed the court the infinite misfortunes I suffered during my ordeal.
When the judge discharged me in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures Act – at the end of the state’s case, the court is of the view that there is no evidence the accused committed the offence referred to on the charge sheet, he without hesitation stated that the police were hunting me and were using all the resources in their arsenal to try to maliciously secure my conviction.
The judge further stated that the police were tailoring evidence and interfering with the statements of the witnesses to deal with me and to get me convicted. The judgement itself was indeed a serious indictment against the police and the prosecution as their nefarious, evil and nocturnal agenda was openly exposed. The police misdemeanours indeed set a dangerous precedence for the justice system in our country.
As a result of the malicious prosecution which included unlawful arrest and detention, loss of income for 5 years and the demeaning of my social standing in the society (reputation), I had to spent millions of rands in legal and other related costs to clear my name.
I was left distraughted, felt empty and even lost self confidence and self esteem. At the end of the excrutiating trial, I was penniless and unemployed with huge debts while my properties were repossessed by the banks. I was left with nothing except my name “China Dodovu”, which I built over the years through painful and relentless struggles and personal sacrifices.
To end salt to injury, while it took the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) led by Cde Supra Mahumapelo only 3 days to suspend me after my arrest, after my acquittal, it took the same PEC more than 2 months (67 days to be exact) to reinstate my ANC membership and as the Deputy Chairperson and not as MEC.
The reinstatements happened two weeks before the 2015 provincial conference which elected the PEC “unopposed”. The reinstatements were done after I had launched serious protests and had written letters to the NEC officials (Top6) and the NEC deployees for their intervention.
To say I was extremely upset is to tell the truth. When I was set aside (suspended), I neither appealed nor defy my leadership, let alone taking my organization to court. When I was suspended and removed, there was no disciplinary hearings and I was not given a fair opportunity to make representations. The principles of natural justice and audi alteram partem rule were not followed and observed.
While I was certain and convinced that my organisation had acted wrongly and unlawfully, I didn’t resort to the courts to resolve my grievances and to adjudicate my disputes with the organisation. I remained disciplined to the end and instead fought my battles internally.
Therefore, it is a hypocrisy of the highest order especially from Cde Supra to question the authority and decision of the NEC on the step aside rule while during his tenures as Premier and ANC Provincial Chairperson he perpetuated terrible practises with impunity against many comrades in the North West. Comrades and many competent public servants were throttled and suffered under his leadership. Maybe chickens are coming home to roost.
He may not see it now but sometimes the prettiest smile hide the deepest secrets; the prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and kindest hearts have felt the most pain. He must never underestimate how people feel about the treatment he meted against them.
Under the watch of Cde Supra, I saw real cadres of the ANC dealt with daily and removed from their positions in the ANC and in government. I saw people told that they would go to the streets when they raised genuine issues inside the ANC, reminded that it was cold outside and they would walk besides or without their shoes.
We must not be vindictive or vengeful. I call upon sanity to prevail. I urge all those who are charged with corruption or serious crimes not to undermine and disrespect the authority of the leadership but to step aside. In my view, failure to abide by the resolution of the NEC will have serious consequences too ghastly to contemplate including the risks of suspension and therefore destroying one’s political future.
It will be ill-discipline of the worst degree to mobilise and galvanise cadres of the ANC across the country against the step aside resolution. The worst will be to take the ANC to court without exhausting the internal remedies. This repugnant and reprehensible attitude towards the ANC leadership and its resolutions is unwarranted and unacceptable.
Take it from me! Lo and behold, since my reinstatement some few years ago I feel I have matured and grown stronger politically and morally. During my suspension I had ample time to make personal reflections, read more political literature, pursue my academic studies and spent more time with my family especially my children who enjoyed my companionship.
I have also come to realize that patience pays. As the ANC has no dustbin to throw its cadres, I was appointed into the Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) and deployed as a member of parliament in the National Council of Provinces. As such, the ANC has deployed me in very crucial positions like as Chairperson of the Select Committee on COGTA and as a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Morally, I speak with authority and absolute confidence on contentious issues facing our country such as corruption. I have learnt my lessons and now understand my organisation, the ANC better. I am ready for bigger assignments and ready to face all the battles ahead.
The benefits of respecting and complying with the organisational resolutions are great. They enhance both the prestige and standing of the ANC as an undisputed indomitable leader of the society but also they help our political growth and maturity.
I hope my own personal experience will persuade all those who are charged to respect the decisions of the NEC and therefore STEP ASIDE.
CHINA DODOVU (MP) but writing on my personal capacity.