Lindiwe Sisulu: In-depth insights, outliving ‘dark’ forces and hope for SA’s future

By Chris Steyn

The transitional spokesperson – and former long-time advisor – of veteran activist and politician Lindiwe Sisulu has given BizNews a wide-ranging interview in which he shared deep insights into her views and beliefs.

Mphumzi Mdekazi

Mr Mphumzi Mdekazi says Ms Sisulu has “outlived many dark forces in and outside the organisation”.

Ms Sisulu, the daughter of one of South Africa’s most iconic struggle families, served as a government minister six times during nearly 30 years in Parliament. She was shuffled out of the Cabinet after a Presidential bid – and her calling for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step aside over his Phala Phala farm scandal.

Here are the main outtakes from the interview with Mr Mdekazi:


“Something must have gone very wrong for such a ludicrous assertion to have been made. The US Defence Force knows what ammunition South Africa can produce. They would know too what quantities are produced. They know the process that is followed. It’s a most baffling accusation from the US. 

Let’s look at it from another angle and assume that they genuinely believed the information; then, it is a real compliment for the SA arms industry, which incidentally has been struggling in the past few years. 

It was a very big diplomatic disaster for the US. No ambassador goes public on unverified allegations, especially of the nature that was put out in the media. There are proper protocols to ensure that the information is verified and communicated through those accepted protocols.”

Read more: Arms Deal Whistleblower Andrew Feinstein’s inside track on SA-arms-to-Russia scandal


“As someone who was born in the struggle and a niece to former President (Nelson) Mandela, Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu would not be worried about increasing tension between SA and USA. 

Nothing has changed in our relations with the US, except this diplomatic glitch. 

SA is a sovereign state that has made its position very clear from Mandela himself: that no one will determine who should be our friends, this includes the USA and the UK.”


“This has been an issue as it dates as far back as the days of (former Sudanese President Omar Hassan) al-Bashir (wanted on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  SA should not bind itself into conditions that we might not be ready for. We are a developing country and we should give ourselves the space to do what is right for us as a developing country that needs to grow unhindered by protocols that pre-determine for us what is right or wrong. 

We should have weighed our options in line with our decision then not to arrest Al Bashir. We bound ourselves into an extremely difficult situation because the only option is to disengage from the ICC, irrespective of how fraught with difficulties the process is. Ultimately we need to take a position that does not hamper our development.”

Read more: How world sees SA: Ramaphosa’s ICC gaffe underscores Putin quandary – FT


“It does have a peacekeeping mission. What is required is the redefinition and rescoping of its current mandate, to give the AU the capacity to solve its own problems. Africa must have a well-oiled Military Wing, together with an effective African Intelligence Wing to protect our Continent. 

Africa has been ravaged by wars that have largely been proxy wars on our African soil by the West. That should stop. An AU military capacity is long overdue. 

From time to time the AU has relied on South Africa’s capacity to intervene in African civil wars.”


“Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu averted about six if not seven coups on the African Continent while she was both the Minister of Intelligence and Defence successively. This was in Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Comores, Sudan,  the DRC, CAR, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. She successfully intervened in those several instances. 

In Zimbabwe…In fact, President (Thabo) Mbeki has been open about South African intervention in averting not only a coup, but the assassination of President (Robert) Mugabe through Comrade Lindy Sisulu’s intelligence ‘wizardry’. If I am not mistaken, she saved Mugabe twice from assassination.”


“On her stint as a Minister of Human Settlements, she leaves behind the greatest achievement – and at a moderate count she has 4,3 million houses under her belt. This figure counts for shelter to 20 million people, but like a fish, she doesn’t like to make noise about her success stories.”

Read more: FORSA’s Ellerbeck: ANC’s proposed censorship law not about ‘Hate Speech’, but to criminalise ‘Speech’ elites ‘Hate’


“She has indicated that it is a public secret that the people who are entrusted with putting the lights on are clearly pitting the ANC as a serving and governing party against the society/ the people. This is because their intention is to ensure that the ANC is dislodged from power come general elections next year. This will be in keeping with what F W De Klerk called ‘if they can’t keep their promise, the ANC will lose power’. So that prophecy ought to be fulfilled in whatever manner it takes – even if it means South Africans remain in the dark. To Comrade Sisulu, this is counter revolutionary to those who carry De Klerk’s mandate: it’s total sabotage and tantamount to self hatred as African people. 

We continue to be misled with false time frames of ending loadshedding. Yet, there are no consequences to those who are tasked to switch the lights on. As Comrade Sisulu has said, the lights were on under President (Jacob) Zuma, but today the lights are off with no consequence. You will recall that under President Zuma there was a War Room to specifically deal with Eskom. That War Room had a Chairperson; this was long long ago, more than five or six years ago. Think of the babies we lose in hospitals due to loadshedding, pensioners who depend on electricity for their medical conditions, SMMEs, salons, panel beaters, laundromats, BnBs, coffee shops etc. All this under this high percentage of unemployed youth.”


“As she has indicated, we are currently under the real state capture today because of greed. Judge Zondo made findings against certain people in that Commission. A few months later he (Judge Zondo) himself gave oath to the very same people he had found against to occupy public office. That’s the mother of all oxymorons. That should tell you about the actual state of our nation and judiciary. It’s a blight and a monumental stain from what we want to achieve as a country. These are all ingredients of ensuring that we are dislodged from power come next year’s general elections. Otherwise what do you think society is saying about us.” 

Read more: SA’s collaboration capacity in question as ANC fails to meet investment expectations – Shawn Hagedorn


Mr Mdekazi says “in a genuine political landscape”, Ms Sisulu “does rekindle the hopes of many South Africans yearning to build a capable professional state within an appropriate ethical framework and the required competent and incorruptible executive and the judiciary”.

“So, to the genuine and concerned membership of her political organisation – and in the battle for the soul of the organisation’s renewal as it continues its journey to cleanse itself and recover its original values – she remains the symbol of hope. 

To the continued struggle of the black majority for social, economic and racial justice, and the renewed determination to fight the scourge of poverty and corruption which poses an existential threat to the remarkable gains the democratic ANC-led government has made since the advent of democracy in 1994, she remains the symbol of hope…”

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*Mr Mdekazi is the Chairman and Founder of the M J Mdekazi Foundation that aims to unearth raw talent from disadvantaged areas in rural spots and in the townships to bring about better balanced socio-economic development.