Over a three-decade-long career, he’s built a reputation as an unyielding champion of the fight against corruption and as an exponent of the ethics of good governance. “The General” shares his vision and hopes for the country with us.
On 30 December 1987, the Transkei Defence Force (TDF) staged a bloodless coup d’etat against the government, then led by Stella Sigcau. The defence force suspended the civilian constitution of the then “independent” Republic of Transkei, placing the Bantustan under the rule of a Military Council.
At the helm of the Military Council was a certain Brigadier-General Bantu Holomisa. Holomisa cited corruption as the reason for the brazen action taken against an administration that had the backing of the draconian apartheid regime. But Holomisa was undeterred by any possible backlash from the government of PW Botha. “I am soldier. I would be nervous if I had the intention of involving myself in politics, but I do not,” he said in an interview with the Weekly Mail at the time. Fast forward 30 years and Holomisa is deeply immersed in politics, and is today one of the loudest voices of dissent against the ANC government and one of the most prominent figures in opposition benches in Parliament.
At the time of our meeting, Holomisa was in the midst of a court action brought by his United Democratic Movement (UDM) against Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. The case stemmed from Mbete’s insistence that she had no powers to order that a vote-of-no-confidence in the President should take place by way of secret ballot. The UDM approached the Constitutional Court, asking it to compel the speaker to allow a secret ballot.