Former president Nelson Mandela’s eldest granddaughter Ndileka says she will not vote for the African National Congress anymore, citing the social grants crisis and Life Esidimeni tragedy as the tipping points.
Ndileka Mandela said on Friday that the two national crises have caused her to lose faith in the party.
“This is how I feel. I am highly upset. And this is not a decision that has been made out of anger. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and it’s been a build-up,” she told News24.
“But the tipping point has been Life Esidimeni and the Sassa scenario.”
Ndileka Mandela, a nurse by profession, is the oldest of the third generation Mandelas.
She is involved with the Thembekile Mandela Foundation and spends many hours doing community upliftment work in the rural Eastern Cape.
The 52-year-old said the two recent governance failures helped her make up her mind about rejecting the ANC in the 2019 general elections.
‘Our people suffer over scandals’
She said she “just couldn’t take it anymore” after the news that grants service provider Cash Paymaster Services had flouted its obligations with regards to beneficiary information.
“When you try and source funding to do worthwhile projects in rural areas, you get frustrated and you don’t win. Yet money is being wasted, billions of rand, if you look at the CPS scenario.”
She had hoped that ANC policies, “which are very sound”, would be implemented.
“For me it’s a problem of accountability: When you get certain departments not being accountable to the people.”
Referring to the Life Esidimeni disaster, she said mentally-ill patients should not die because they were not physically ill.
“It’s one scandal after the next and there’s no accountability. And our people suffer for it.”
‘Nobody can speak on behalf of granddad’
Mandela expressed similar sentiment earlier this week on social media, attached to a picture of her grandfather voting.
She said she disagreed with those who had said her grandfather would be disappointed in her.
“I get very incensed with people who think they knew my grandfather more than his own family did,” she said.
“Nobody can actually articulate how granddad felt across the board, not just as a politician but as a father, as a family man. So you can’t tell me he would be disappointed.”
Her grandfather, who loved the ANC, would not have supported blind loyalty. Otherwise he would not have said: ‘If the ANC does what the apartheid government did, you must vote them out of power.'”
She said she would not hide her opinion, saying, “it is what it is.”
‘It’s so painful’
Mandela said she did not know yet who she would vote for, but said she was looking for a party to uplift “bleeding” rural areas. She wanted a vibrant agricultural sector to provide both work and a life for rural citizens.
Her decision to turn her back on the ANC had not been taken lightly.
“It’s so painful, it’s like wrenching my heart out of my soul, to be able to utter what I’m saying.
“But my point stays. I will not be voting for something that does not resonate with me anymore, and does not resonate for what granddad and his comrades fought for.”