Politicians’ children should not depend on their name to get ahead in life, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday, but they should be given room to grow as individuals as well.
“I usually give [my children] a long lecture which says there is no qualification which is called ‘Mantashe’,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.
“If you want to survive in life go to school, study and be yourself and not be a Mantashe as a qualification, that should be your surname and that’s it.”
Mantashe said they must not live in their parents’ shadow.
The general secretary was responding to a question about reports that President Jacob Zuma’s daughter Thuthukile, 25, was appointed chief of staff at the telecommunications and postal services department, making her the youngest head of a minister’s office.
Mantashe said Thuthukile should be given the space to grow and develop.
“We don’t want our kids to be described as our kids… we want them to develop and grow as individuals,” he said.
“Punish us for our sins, but leave our kids.”
According to the Mail & Guardian, Thuthukile would earn almost R1 million a year. Further, it appeared the post was never advertised.
Thuthukile Zuma reportedly previously worked with Siyabonga Cwele at the State Security Agency, following him to her new post after the May elections.
She is the youngest of the president’s four daughters with his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former Cabinet minister who is currently African Union Commission chairwoman.
Thuthukile Zuma has an honours degree in anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand.