PRETORIA: The African National Congress (ANC) veteran Zola Skweyiya has passed away on Wednesday morning.
Skweyiya served as Minister of Public Service and Administration in former president Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet and then as Minister of Social Development during Thabo Mbeki’s administration.
The well-known politician stayed on, despite Mbeki’s recall and subsequent resignation, when then-acting president Kgalema Motlanthe took office. He also served on the African National Congress (ANC)’s highest decision-making body, the National Executive Committee (NEC).
Skweyiya retired as a parliamentarian after the 2009 general elections, citing health reasons. It is claimed he tried to retire as early as 2004, but was persuaded to stay on in Cabinet.
After leaving Parliament, Skweyiya entered the diplomatic world.
In 2016, in an exclusive interview with eNCA, Skweyiya says he believes ANC leaders are now out of sync with the aspirations of South Africans.
“Even these so-called leaders now, you see how they react in general to the ANC as a whole,” said Skweyiya.
“They are very hostile actually. Very, very hostile. They want to show you, ‘today we’ve got power. Who are you?'”
Skweyiya spent most of his adult life in the ANC having joined the organisation in 1956, serving in various capacities during the party’s exile years and post democracy, but he says today’s ANC doesn’t fill him with much hope.
He has lamented widespread corruption and weak leadership within the party, at the time, which is why he has backed calls for an early elective conference.
“The NEC of the ANC is not flowing in the same way that the people of SA want it to flow,” said the 74-year-old former politician.
“It is no more articulating what our people want.
“So it might be good if it was an elective one, whereby we can remove everybody. Not only everybody but also in the provinces and everywhere, including the top six and everybody and we start afresh as an organisation.”
As for Jacob Zuma, Skweyiya said the former president should examine himself and not wait to be told by others to resign. Zuma resigned as the president after the ANC NEC recalled him in February.
The 75-year-old died while in hospital.