Chief of staff of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services Thuthukile Zuma has taken a swipe at the ANC’s communications manager Khusela Sangoni, calling for the party to “stop junior rising senior posts”.

This comes after the ANC this week in a statement rapped its Youth League in Gauteng over the knuckles for laying charges of corruption and culpable homicide against former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and called for Premier David Makhura to resign following the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Following the release of the health ombudsman’s report that at least 94 patients had died after being moved from the health care facility to 27 non-governmental organisations across the province, the provincial Youth League in a statement said it regarded the findings as “a true reflection of the careless, negligent and poor leadership of not only the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health led by the disgraceful MEC Qedani Mahlangu but the entire Leadership of the Gauteng Provincial Government led by Premier David Makhura who allowed the disgraced MEC to arrogantly continue misleading the people of Gauteng and families of the victims”.

It said while it accepted Mahlangu’s resignation and the remedial action announced by the premier, more needed to be done in light of the tragedy, it would lay the charges and “mobilise the entire membership of the ANC Youth League in the province to occupy the office of the premier” should Makhura not resign within two weeks.

 

Following her appointment in June last year, the party said Sangoni was a longs tanding member who had worked in various roles and structures within the party, its youth league and women’s league.

She was also a member of the ANC Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee.

Zuma, who at 25 became the youngest chief of staff in the ministry, on Friday tweeted that spokesperson “must be an elected NEC member, not an employee”.

“Khusela’s statement about the ANCYL GP puts the ANC into disrepute. Unelected officials should not be writing statements on behalf of the org [sic],” she tweeted.

On Sunday, Sangoni appeared to hit back with a Facebook post – complete with a selfie – while on her way to the ANC’s Gauteng lekgotla.

“Junior not junior. Elected unelected. Yona leyo [that one],” she posted.

On Sunday, former ANC national media co-ordinator Nomfanelo Kota described Zuma’s comment as belittling.

“Khusela Sangoni is a tried and tested product of our movement who has earned her stripes, not only in the  progressive Youth Movement, but also in ANC structures. She is an ANC leader, an honour she earned through her sterling work in the movement, not by birth,” she said in a Facebook post.

“Her royalty is also a matter she does not flout [sic] and has never used to her advantage. How one begins to see her as a ‘junior’ in the ANC Communication machinery remains quite a mystery to me.”

Kota, who was also a former deputy secretary general of the ANC Youth League, said Zuma’s comment “defies logic and speaks to a creeping culture of entitlement by birth not by credentials to our body politic”.

“Through this negligent and irresponsible attack on Khusi, she has urinated on the public standing of that office by attacking its mouthpiece, opening up the organization to external attacks.

“What makes this black on black violence, more brutal is the fact that at a time when she was appointed as a Chief of Staff in a National Ministry under Minister Cwele we were the first to say, she too has a right to serve the people of our country and that her gender, age and family name, should not be used to disadvantage her.”