South Africa

Cadre deployment: Mbalula slams ‘propaganda machine’ DA, accuses it of dishonesty

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has labelled the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) intention to have its deployment policy declared unconstitutional as a “smokescreen”.

ANC leaders held a media briefing on Thursday to engage on various matters including the preparations for the party’s manifesto launch, which will be held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium over the weekend, as well as the legal battle with the DA over cadre deployment.

‘Anti-transformation forces’

Speaking during the press conference, Mbalula described the DA as a “propaganda machine”, saying the party’s “real plan” was to have transformational policies declared unlawful.

He defended the ANC’s deployment strategy before he summarised the ruling party’s policy document adopted in 1997.

“Deployment must be according to specialty, aptitude, qualification, experience and capability. Cadres should be correctly placed and promoted at the right time so that they may fully apply their talents and creativity.

“Cadres must also be redeployed to new areas of work so that they develop all-round skills to lead the process of national democratic transformation,” Mbalula said.

ALSO READ: ‘Errors in law’ – DA to appeal cadre deployment ruling as ANC slams party’s ‘hypocrisy’

Mbalula highlighted that the ANC has not made it a secret that the party’s primary mission was to eradicate “all forms of colonialism, patriarchy and apartheid and empower those who were excluded and exploited”.

The ANC secretary-general stressed that transformation was a “constitutional imperative”.

“The DA-led right-wing forces opposed to transformation have launched ideological offensive that has deliberately and systematically sought to fundamentally distort and crudely caricature ANC cadre policy and deployment strategy.

“For quite some time, a false narrative has been pushed vigorously in the media about the exact nature, purpose and actual practices pertaining to the deployment of cadres.

“There has also been a concerted effort by the anti-transformation forces to use the courts in their fight to slow down, stop or reverse the transformation agenda by trying to impose a conservative interpretation of the Constitution and law of our republic,” Mbalula continued.

Watch the briefing below:

Mbalula says ‘DA is profoundly dishonest’

He said it was “far from the truth” that cadre deployment was unconstitutional and slammed the “DA’s spin doctors” for “heavily churning out a false narrative” and “gaslighting” the nation.

Mbalula pointed out that deployment practices, such as senior appointments in the public sector, were used by political parties across the global in order to achieve their own policies.

“This practice is very prevalent in the United States of America where every incumbent that wins elections replaces the entire top echelons of the administration.”

WATCH: ‘Cadre deployment is done in Western Cape and Tshwane’ – ANC

The ANC leader said the DA itself used deployment practices across municipalities as well as the Western Cape, where the John Steenhuisen-led governs.

“The DA is profoundly dishonest and misleading the public in presenting itself as a party that does not deploy its members into the public service to pursue its policy agenda. In this regard, the DA pretends that all its deployees are merely recruited by the chance of merit and not a deliberate effort to advance the DA’s agenda.

“There is evidence in the City of Tshwane and the Western Cape that the DA itself has been practising its own version of deployment of its leaders and members into positions of administration where the party governs.”

‘No basis in law’

He further said the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria correctly dismissed the DA’s case to have cadre deployment declared illegal as the litigation had “no basis in law”.

The high court, in its judgment delivered on Wednesday, found that there was nothing unconstitutional about a political party influencing the policy direction of a government “so long as the public service is protected against being misused for partisan purposes”.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a very good policy’ – Mashatile defends ANC’s cadre deployment policy

“There is indeed no law preventing a private body, such as a political party, from discussing potential candidates for any position.

“What is wrong is where the prescribed legal processes are not followed in the appointment of individuals, whether it be to the public service, the judiciary or state-owned enterprises. If the due legal process is flouted, then those doing the flouting should be held to account,” Mbalula continued.

The DA has already confirmed that it intends to appeal the high court ruling all the way to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).

‘Corruption not a party agenda’

Meanwhile, Mbalula rejected suggestions that cadre deployment was responsible for state capture as well as corruption and blamed the Gupta family instead.

“In its lapse of logic informed by the attempt to hoodwink voters, the DA has suddenly and opportunistically forgotten that state capture and corruption is not a party political agenda, but a result of calculated actions by networks of individuals who seek to weaken and destroy the capacity of state institutions so that they can loot large some of public funds for their own selfish benefit.

“The DA wants to excuse the thieves and give them political cover that they were stealing for the ANC instead of ensuring that those responsible for state capture and corruption in our land must face the consequences of their selfish and greedy deeds.”

RELATED: ANC cadre deployment documents accessible to the public, says DA

He further disputed another narrative by the DA that South Africa’s social and economic challenges such as unemployment, inequality and racism could be traced to cadre deployment.

“This is not only ridiculous but it is also incredible that the DA believes that South Africans are stupid or simply forgetful,” Mbalula said.

He added: “The question that arises is why is the DA seizing on cadre policy and hoping that the courts and the electorate will buy into their plan to declare transformation unlawful, unconstitutional and, therefore, illegitimate?

“Why does this party thinks that South Africans will not see through its profound naked hypocrisy and its real intensions?”

Former DA member weighs in

Ex-DA member Bongani Baloyi seemed to agree with Mbalula. He said on social media that his former party also engaged in deployment practices.

“It is true that the Democratic Alliance practice cadre deployment. When I was mayor of Midvaal between 2013 [and] 2021, the municipality couldn’t conclude a senior staff appointment without the approval of FedEx [DA’s federal executive].

“It was standard procedure that all mayors apply to get the approval of FedEx before the municipality would conclude the appointment.

“This practice hasn’t changed. If they have nothing to hide, they must release minutes of FedEx and you will see that they practiced the same cadre deployment that the ANC practiced,” Baloyi said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The Citizen contacted DA spokesperson Charity McCord for comment. She said the party “will not be responding to tweets”.