Open Letter: Dear Modern-Day Askaris

By Tiisetso ‘Afrika’ Makhele


These people didn’t give you the mandate to vote with opposition against ANC

My leaders, you will forgive me dearly for I am unable to address you by names due to the fact that when you voted together with the opposition, it was through a secret ballot. Had I known your names and identities, I would have addressed you as such. I was unable to find any other term that would best describe you, except for one of modern-day Askaris. I apologise in advance if you may feel aggrieved by this term. I will use it anyway.

The re-emergence of Askaris

During the early days of my activism, when I was active in the Congress of South African Students (Cosas), some senior comrades narrated to me the stories of Askaris. I was informed that these were (mostly) ANC activists who had betrayed their comrades and worked as spies and assassins for the Apartheid regime. Joe Mamasela, one of those Askaris, has admitted to have taken part in the killing of almost 40 activists during the 1980’s.

Your actions, individually and collectively, clearly fits those of an Askari. Firstly, you defied the directive of the African National Congress NEC, the highest decision making body between conference, which instructed all ANC Members of Parliament to vote against the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma, which was tabled by the opposition parties. You may not have killed activists like Apartheid-era Askaris, but your actions, modus operandi and tactics are equal to those of Askaris.

In its intelligence, the NEC argued that such a motion had to be rejected by the ANC as it was ultimately intended to remove the ANC from power. You decided to selfishly represent your own interests, thereby betraying the ANC and its voters. This character is tantamount to that of the Askari.

Secondly, you convinced yourselves that your grounds to defy the party line were superior to the mandate given to yourselves by the ANC, the party that deployed you. This behaviour, where paranoia is used to create an opportunistic justification to betray the ANC, is exactly the one used by Apartheid-era Askaris like Joe Mamasela. The latter claimed that he was tortured so hard that he became submissive to the Apartheid security forces. He uses torture as an undue justification for his betrayal of his party and people.

If you felt strongly about the reasons that led to this betrayal, and you felt that your convictions and the mandate of the ANC were irreconcilable, you were supposed to have resigned en masse. I am sure there are millions of ANC members and supporters who are simply waiting to serve the ANC in whatever platform. Having resigned, you could have had ample opportunity to raise your frustrations, internally in the ANC or, if those are exhausted, rather than simply betray the ANC. I am disappointed in you.

Lastly, like all Askaris, you prefer to conduct your operations in the cover of night, or behind secret ballots. This is the worst form of cowardice and I regret to know that I have been having such representatives in Parliament. I thought that I had voted for people who are able to articulate their convictions under the sun, without fear of any consequences. I see that I was lying. Not all people representing me are as courageous as I thought. It will be difficult for me to trust all our public representatives.

A dangerous precedence

Your actions in Parliament are the beginning of a painful process in the movement. I will not be surprised when, in the near future, there are secret ballots in our provincial legislatures and, for factional and other reasons, ANC members vote with the opposition. This shall definitely lead to a collapse not only of governance, but of the political and ideological standing of the ANC as we know it.

A betrayal of my valued vote

When I cast my vote in the National and Provincial Elections on 7 May 2014, I was not voting for any of you, nor other members of Parliament. I cast my vote for the ANC; the party I love with every iota of my soul.

The ANC then took a decision to deploy you to Parliament. I have no problem with that process because I understand the principle of democratic centralism. I thought that, as deployees of the ANC, you will be in the legislature to advance the mandate of the African National Congress, in totality. So on Tuesday, when you decided to vote against a party mandate, I felt betrayed by you. If the ANC does not feel betrayed by your actions, I feel betrayed, both as a member of the ANC, and as a citizen who voted for the ANC in 2014. Like Askaris, I feel that you have qualified as traitors both to the party and to millions of its members and voters.

Are there grounds to be modern-day Askaris?

If the reasons for voting with the oppositions are that you have issues with President Zuma, then you had a revolutionary duty to lobby the NEC to recall him. After all, the NEC is the one that deploys and has the power to recall. It is wrong to act in cahoots with the enemy to deal with issues that must be dealt with in the organisation. I am sure you have failed to show exemplary revolutionary character here.

I have issues with many leaders of the movement, both in government and in the party. For example, I am not comfortable with some of the children of President Zuma, some of whom do not even participate in the structures and activities of the movement, but feel they are entitled to involve themselves in organisational matters of the ANC. I am even worried that the President is yet to rebuke such actions in public. I am also not happy with how the Nkandla upgrades matter was handled. I have even raised such in proper platforms of the ANC.

I also have issues with the fact that the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, has moved slowly regarding the transformation of the higher education sector in the country. This is despite the fact that this Department was established with the purpose of attaining, amongst others, free education for the poor, as well as to ensure that our higher education system is rid of its Western elements. I have previously written about the extent to which the Ministry of Finance, through its successive ministers, have failed to accelerate economic transformation. But despite all these and other matters, I shall NEVER vote with the opposition against any of our cadres.

If you argue that you voted with the opposition because you felt the need to represent the masses, I feel it is important that you indicate how the masses gave you such a mandate. If these people gave you a mandate, where and how was this mandate given, and why was I, a member of the ANC and of society, not invited to make inputs? Your grounds to vote with the opposition do not, unfortunately, have enough foundation. You have, according to me, erred in your judgements.


 If, for some reason, the ANC, an organisation I love dearly, may decide to reprimand me for calling you Askaris, or traitors, or for decrying your actions, I would be both aggrieved and puzzled. I would ask myself; “what is of more grave concern: betraying the party line, or calling someone who has betrayed the party line a traitor?”

I hope that you will one day find it necessary to come to us, members and voters of the ANC, and to explain why you acted the way you did. I also hope that, in that platform, you will indicate to us who gave you the mandate to act the way you did. Lastly, I also hope that you will give us an explanation as to why you decided to become modern-day Askaris.

Makhele is an ANC member in Bram Fischer Branch, Mangaung Region, Free State. He writes in his personal capacity

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  1. How are are Nombuyiselo and Barry Windrim related?
    Shaya inja kuhlabeke umnikazi wayo.
    You see, this is not a derogatory statement but a Nguni saying, simply meaning that “you deal with a spy until he/she reveals his/her employers.

  2. What Barry must not forget is that, insulting people who you don’t agree with is no more a preserve of some racists as it used to be in the Apartheid Regime times
    But he must be rest assured that we here at Uncensored opinion are very intelligent people who are not going to stoop down to that level of foolishness of insulting and disrespecting other people.
    As long as you live in South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma is your president whether you like him or not.
    You can go to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, China, all over the world, they will tell you (not ask you) that your president is Mr JG Zuma.
    That can only change if the ruling ANC recalls Mr Zuma.
    No Regime Change Agents can change that Msholozi is the president of the country at the moment.
    You can fool a few gullible black people in your WMC Fake News Media, but many of us are not.

  3. Really! Yet another village missing its idiot. How can you be so blind to the shenanigans of Jacob Zuma and his cohorts? There are none so blind as those who cannot see. Would not be in the least bit surprised if the country is broke,and we just haven’t found out yet. Unless you’re a Gupta and know Tom Moyane you try getting VAT refunds and tax back from SARS! Barry a very proud but bitterly disappointed South African.

    1. Dear Barry

      Welcome to UnCensored. As we say here, we trade ideas not insults.

      We understand you being disappointed in Jacob Zuma and you’re entitled to your views.

      You have however not addressed the issues raised by the writer – either you have missed the point completely or like some South Africans are too lazy to think through issues and often go for the easiest way of using the same old rehashed line of the Guptas.

      What the writer is questioning is the ANC MP’s mandate to vote with the opposition. Who gave it to them, he asks, etc? The DA and EFF would not allow their members to vote with the ANC. Those who voted with the ANC have been subjected to lie detector tests and disciplinary hearings.

      I doubt you’ve read the piece otherwise you wouldn’t bring in issues which have nothing to do with it. If you have, re read it again.

    2. Barry Windrim, I believe in arguments REVEALING THE VILLAGE IDIOT than someone singing their own praises. In fact if I could meet you in person, I would be so patient with your insults and not insult you back BUT once you have finished insulting, I will politely call you back to the battle of ideas.

      The issue is not about Zuma, it is about A LITTLE SOMETHING CALLED PRINCIPLE.

      You see a principle is what will remain long after Zuma is gone from SA politics.

      The obsession around Zuma makes many people’s brains to short circuit and end up loosing sight of the precedents they are bet set. This they do in the hope that they will never be subjected to the same rules they applied to others in the near future.

  4. Nombuyiselo, I think a lot of us would have applauded that “courage” if we were living in a different jurisdiction with a different Electoral system.

    South Africa’s MP vote according to a Party mandate.

    The reason is because Nombuyiselo, neither you nor I have voted for any MP in parliament. They were sent by the party and they serve at the pleasure of the party.

    Their conscience, while it may sound like a colourful argument do not feature anywhere in our political discource.

    This is why the same opposition parties do not allow the same behavior in their parties.

    If your neighbor encourages you to do the things that he himself does not do in his house he actually exposes the fool in you.

    The USA does not use a party system, hence their congressmen and senators are voted directly by various constituencies.

    Even for them still, they do not just vote according to the conscience, THEY VOTE ACCORDING TO THE MANDATE OF THE CONSTUTUENTS.

    This is POLITICS 101

  5. There is a very Ugly Tribalism Phenomenon which has crept into the ANC Structures.
    How can someone say that some cowards who waited to cover themselves with a Secret Ballot before committing the heinous act of betraying the masses (11million plus) are courageous?
    The problem here is that, gullible people think that Zuma is the problem and they also believe that only people from their tribes can do better as government leaders.
    The WMC Mainstream Media has made these people (the gullible ones) believe that the President is the problem while in fact, the Regime Change Agents’ focus is on take over the government through the back door. I mean 2019 is just around the corner so why not wait to take the reigns through the polls in less than 2 years from now?
    The answer to this is that there is Western Regime Change Agenda which seeks to weaken the ANC and they found Agents (Askaris like Cmrd. Tiisetso rightly says) within the Organization (ANC) itself which they can use to weaken it (ANC) from within.
    These Regime Change Agents are motivated by nothing but greed and their protecting the Businesses Interests as most of us know that, some got shares in each and every Bank in this country, some got shares in the Mining Sector some of them still want to enrich themselves. REMEMBER THEY DID NOT STRUGGLE TO BE POOR.
    So, greedy people can easily betray their own because all they can think about is enriching themselves.
    This got nothing to do with the masses which the claim they were representing.
    We, the masses feel disrespected and cheated by these CHEATS be cause we feel that they are insulting our intelligence.
    When did they come to us and asked how do we want them to vote on these many, frivolous, nonsensical, racist motions of no confidence.
    There was no polling on this to get the sense of how people feel about this Regime Change or Coup Plan which the West is using to topple the Democratically Elected Government in South Africa.
    It is said that about R2billion was used to buy this Askaris to vote against their Party Line against the Mandate which was given to their party by the very same masses they claim to represent.
    Now, they have forgotten all that, they get there and represent their handlers and themselves.
    Them House Niggers.

  6. Is it possible that this letter to the askaris(amagundane) be sent to each and every ANC mp it really deserves the reading of each and everyone of them

    1. Dear S’lwane

      I’d imagine this can be done – you can do it. Find the MP’s contact, email addresses and send them the link.



  7. It’s a pity you feel that way on the other hand we also ANC members applaud them on their courageous deed tough luck to you comrade

    1. Dear Nombuyiselo

      Please help us understand the “courage” to which you refer.

      As Tiisetso says in his article, he and most of us, have no problem with the disgruntled ANC MPs. They should have lobbied in the NEC to have jacob Zuma recalled.

      My view is that since they didn’t and were happy to collapse the ANC government, they should be resigning. They haven’t done either. They are dishonourable, disgraceful.

      But I look forward to your side of the story.



      1. Nombuyiselo I’ve never heard of a courageous person showing courage behind a secret vote. Surely izimpimpi, amagundwane, askaris,sell outs will do havoc in darkness. Courageous people will publicly say wrong is wrong. I’d be happy if Nombuyiselo would give the real meaning of COURAGEOUS.

  8. I share your sentiment my brother! That’s what they are! We also called them IZIMPIMPI.

    The demostration they showed in the secret vote proves just that! The leadership that are in denial of the fact, they need to look at themselves also. I will remain an activist and veteran of this liberation, and will speak out against what wrong without fear or favor as am too old to be looking for positions in the leadership.

  9. A Question to be answered indeed..

    “…if you argue that you voted with the opposition because you felt the need to represent the masses, I feel it is important that you indicate how the masses gave you such a mandate. If these people gave you a mandate, where and how was this mandate given, and why was I, a member of the ANC and of society, not invited to make inputs? Your grounds to vote with the opposition do not, unfortunately, have enough foundation. You have, according to me, erred in your judgements.”

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