Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has accused unnamed African National Congress (ANC) “comrades” of hatching a plot to tarnish her name.
Sisulu, who is also an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, told journalists after a media briefing on Wednesday that she had “uncovered” this plot using her state intelligence background.
She claimed these comrades were spreading a rumour that she was campaigning for the ANC Presidency in the party’s next conference in 2022 and using her department’s national rapid response task team (NRRTT) to raise campaign funds.
‘ANC Presidency in 2022’
Sisulu said, “I’m an intelligence officer of the highest rank. I have discovered where that malicious rumour comes from and I have reported it to the [ANC] integrity committee and ethics committee.
“I have all the information that they have been giving out and using various people in the national rapid response task team to spread all of these stories.
“It is intended to tarnish and damage. You should not be proud of people who are peddling information to tarnish other people’s integrity.”
The Minister cautioned the media against being used to spread this rumour and urged them to wait for the outcome of the integrity and ethics committees’ investigations.
The rumour first emerged in November last year when Mail & Guardian reported on an anonymous complaint lodged with the Public Protector and the Public Service Commission.
The anonymous complainant reportedly alleged that Sisulu was staffing her department with “loyalists” as part of a campaign to unseat Deputy President David Mabuza at the ANC’s National General Council (NGC). This was in preparation for the 2022 conference, the complainant further alleged.
Sisulu’s department denied the allegations at the time, saying, “The allegations are as silly as they are false. The National General Council of the ANC does not elect office bearers and there is no vacancy in the Presidency of the governing party.”
Earlier this month, Mail & Guardian also reported that Sisulu had accused some NRRTT members of pursuing their “business interests and easy wealth accumulation” while purporting to drive her alleged campaign.
“These were done without the knowledge of myself as the Minister. The people who were involved in these activities went around the length and breadth of our country soliciting deals and getting financial support, purportedly either on behalf of the minister and/or the campaign,” she reportedly wrote in a letter to NRRTT.
Sisulu ran a campaign for ANC President briefly in 2017 before dropping her bid and joining President Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate. She accepted nomination for Deputy President at the Nasrec conference, but lost to Mabuza.