9 Fast Facts You Should Know

The lives of the second deputy general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Solly Mapaila and his family members were threatened on Tuesday.

People dressed in the name of ‘MK Foundation’ and accompanied by cameras from the Gupta-owned television channel ANN7, reportedly marched to Mapaila’s house, chanting ‘Hands Off Zuma’!

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Mapaila had rushed home from Cosatu’s Central Committee meeting to find the protesters in front of his house after he was alerted.

The protesters were said to have arrived at his Johannesburg house in one or two minibuses. On getting home, he found the demonstrators brandishing ‘Hands off Zuma’ placards.

The SACP second deputy secretary general is one of Zuma’s most vocal critics. His criticism against the ANC leader swelled up last year after it emerged that the Guptas influenced most ministerial appointments in the government.

In the past, SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande had developed cold feet in condemning Zuma for the state capture allegation – until recently, when he spoke out strongly against the unrepentant leader. But Mapaila has severally shown great courage and boldness in attacking Zuma.

On Monday, EFF leader Julius Malema had warned Solly Mapaila of the threats in a tweet.

He buttressed that Mapaila is being threatened because ‘the old man is not happy with him at all and anything is possible”.

Meanwhile, Solly Mapaila has thanked Malema for warning him before time.

Fast Facts You Need To Know

  • The SACP has already opened a case with the SAPS.
  • Mapaila’s security detail has also been increased following the threat.
  • The Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Foundation denied involvement in the protest.
  • The Foundation, however, blamed two members of the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) – Sparks and Lulamile – for the protest.
  • The Gupta-owned ANN7 was the only media present during the protest.
  • The protest took place while deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa was speaking at the sixth central committee meeting of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Pretoria.
  • In November 2016, Floyd Shivambu warned ANC MPs in Parliament that Jacob Zuma will kill them. Today the lives of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, Human Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and ANC MP Makhosi Khoza were threatened for reportedly speaking out against Zuma. So is Solly Mapaila (although Mapaila is a member of ANC alliance).
  • During Chris Hani commemoration in April, Mapaila was booed by ANC delegates when he took to the stage at the Thomas Nkobi cemetery and a man was spotted on camera brandishing what looked like a pistol.
  • SACP’s central committee has promised to discuss measures regarding Mapaila’s safety and the safety of the entire leadership.

In a statement, SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo condemned the harassment in a statement issued on Wednesday.

He said:

“This legacy of President Jacob Zuma, the so-called defence for Zuma, is no longer merely anti-intellectual and mediocre. It has become ugly, dangerous and life-threatening. The mischievous elements were clothed in the name of the ‘MK Foundation’ and accompanied by cameras from the Gupta-owned television ANN7. We consider what they did a threat.”

The SACP also vowed to hold responsible all those who were involved and in their name, the shenanigans organised should anything happen to Cde Solly and his family.

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South Africans also aired their mind on the social media, condemning the protest at Mapaila’s Johannesburg home.

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