INTERVIEW ENCA: ANC veteran Khulu Mbatha speaks on party’s challenges

JOHANNESBURG – ANC veteran, Khulu Mbatha’s hard hitting book, Unmasked – why the ANC failed to govern, looks set to cause a stir within the governing party.

In the book, which launched on Friday, Mbatha argues that the ANC was not ready to govern in 1994.

A party veteran of more than 40 years, many of which were spent in exile.

Mbatha is perhaps best known for his tenure as former President Kgalema Motlanthe’s special advisor.

In his book, he seeks to put historical perspective to the ANC’s current challenges in government and inside the party.

He concludes that the party was not ready to govern when it took over, and had no specific plans for the country’s economy, while still operating in exile.

“The problems that the ANC confronted outside, especially between 1960 and 1969 made it impossible to think positively about the economy. If you look at the strategy and tactics document, the economy is discussed and described in the strategy as belonging to the enemy, when it’s our workers who will make it possible for the economy to function. And then we looked at those workers and said they are the ones who must destroy this economy because we were fighting,” he said.

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“Hi Khulu, Your book is taken so seriously and appreciated that an extract of it appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Times ZA, they sure didn’t waste time. I don’t know about other books that News papers publish extracts even before a launch. CONGRATULATIONS” from Sophia DeBruyn

Sylvia Glasser Congratulations

03/04/2017 Sylvia Glasser Congratulations on your ground breaking book! The country needs people like you with your intelligence, courage and moral fibre! Khulu Mbatha your reflectivity and ability to honestly examine and analyse make your book an absolute “must read” for ALL South Africans of ALL ages. The timing of this book and the convergence of the launch with the passing of the much loved hero Uncle Kathy are surely a message from the universe! If only others were as brave as you! Sylvia “Magogo” Glasser Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau and Order of Ikhamanga Silver.


About Dr Khulu Mbatha

Dr Khulu Mbatha was born in the Western Native Township, popularly known as “Western” now called Westbury, Johannesburg. His family was among those relocated to Soweto through forced removals of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. He grew up in Rockville – officially known as Moroka.


He started school in “Western” and continued at Jabavu East Community School in Rockville. From there he went to Ndondo Higher Primary, also in Rockville. He matriculated at Sekano-Ntoane High School in Senoane (1974) and was studying at the University of Zululand (eNgoye) in 1976 when the “June 16 uprisings” occurred. Like many of his peers, following these revolts and the disruption of studies, he was forced into exile.


After spending some time in Tanzania he was sent by the African National Congress (ANC) to further his studies in Germany in 1977. Dr Mbatha earned his Master’s degree with a distinction and his PhD with a magna cum laude, both in Philosophy, from the Friedrich-Schiller University, Germany in 1983 & 1987 respectively.

He has worldwide experience in international relations after spending almost 20 years in different countries of Europe and America as a student and a diplomat. At the end of his studies the Secretary-General of the ANC, Alfred Nzo and the Chief Representative to the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Anthony Mongalo strongly recommended that Dr Mbatha joins the Education Department of the ANC in Lusaka, under the Secretary-General’s Office. The department was headed by the Deputy Secretary-General, Henry ‘Squire’ Makgothi (1987 – 1988).


He was appointed by Johnny Makatini, head of the Department of International Affairs, as the organisation’s Chief Representative in Athens, Greece (1988 – 1990).


When the ANC re-established itself in South Africa, after the unbanning, Dr Mbatha re-joined the Office the Secretary-General, under Nzo. When Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as Secretary-General he appointed Dr Mbatha as co-ordinator of the National Executive Committee and its National Working Committee (1991 – 1994).

After the first democratic elections of 1994, Alfred Nzo – the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed Dr Mbatha to the ministry to work with him (1994 – 1995). A year later, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), appointed him as Minister Counsellor to South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (1995 – 1996). Again, after serving a full year, he was appointed as Consul-General to Munich in the Free State of Bavaria, Germany (1996 – 1998).

In 1998 Dr Mbatha left the Department of Foreign Affairs to occupy the post of Deputy Director-General in the Department of Home Affairs under Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Later he was appointed as the Acting Director-General (1999 – 2000). He left government in 2000.

In 2002 the Minister of Transport, Dullah Omar, appointed Dr Mbatha as the first CEO of the Road Traffic Management Corporation – the RTMC (2002 – 2005). Kgalema Motlanthe made him his Special Advisor during his tenure in office as President and Deputy President of South Afrifca (2008-2014).


Dr Mbatha is a member of the Reserve Force in the SANDF with the rank of a full colonel (since 2007). Further qualifications were with the following institutions:

Technical Training Department of Liberty Life (1991 – 1992);

African Institute of Technology (1992);

Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, in association with the Department of Economics of the University of Western Cape & the Educational Opportunities Council (1994);

Public Management – University of Pretoria (1995);

Entrepreneurship – South African Initiative of German Business & the South African Excellence Foundation – (2001); and

Finance for Non-Financial Managers – ExecuPrime Training (2006).


Previous positions of directorship:


  1. Trade and Investments Limpopo – TIL, former Northern Province Investment Initiative – NPii, Non-executive Director (2000 – 2008);
  2. Sinqobile Equestrian Security Services (Pty) Ltd. – Executive Director & Chairman (2002 – 2014);
  3. African Sky Innovative Solutions (Pty) Ltd. (ASIS) – Non-executive Director & Chairman (2003 – 2013);
  4. Nsele Trading (Pty) Ltd. – Non-executive Director (2003 – 2007);
  5. Metro Bus Company and later Metropolitan Trading Company (Pty) Ltd. – Non-executive Director (2004 – 2008);
  6. Local Committee of the Gauteng Liquor Board (Tshwane Metro) – Non-executive Director & Chairman (2005 – 2008);
  7. Local Committee of the Gauteng Liquor Board (Metsweding Metro) – Non-executive Director & Chairman (2005 – 2008); and
  8. South African German Alumni Association – Chairman (2002 – 2006).


Current positions of directorship:


  1. Ivanplats (pty) Ltd – Director;
  2. Prestige College in Hammanskraal – board member since 2012;
  3. Ekukhanyeni Relief Project (HIV/AIDS) – Trustee (since 2005);
  4. Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) – Trustee since 2012;
  5. Institute of Directors in Southern Africa – Member; and
  6. Senior Council of the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Member (since 2004);