Zuma sup­port­ers slam Man­tashe

Cape Times - - WORLD NEWS - Siviwe Feketha

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe’s in­sis­tence on pro­tect­ing his right to be a can­di­date in the party’s hotly con­tested suc­ces­sion race has earned him the wrath of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s sup­port­ers.

Yes­ter­day, Man­tashe dis­missed back­ers of pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for ques­tion­ing his in­clu­sion as na­tional chair­per­son on Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate for the elec­tive con­fer­ence next month.

The Umkhonto we Sizwe Mil­i­tary Veter­ans As­so­ci­a­tion went to the ex­tent of threat­en­ing that they would boo Ramaphosa when he ad­dresses them as the deputy pres­i­dent.

ANC leagues yes­ter­day ac­cused Man­tashe of fac­tion­al­ism for his links to Ramaphosa’s cam­paign, ar­gu­ing he un­der­mined the sec­re­tary-gen­eral’s of­fice.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia on the out­comes of the rul­ing party’s special na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing, Man­tashe said he had a right to have a choice and a pref­er­ence as cam­paign­ing was now open.

ANC Youth League na­tional spokesman Mlondi Mkhize said Man­tashe was wrong to as­so­ciate him­self with Ramaphosa’s cam­paign.

“Our view is that the SG’s of­fice must be con­ducted in a man­ner that gives it dig­nity, and while this does not stop him from hav­ing a pref­er­ence, it places a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity on him in terms of con­duct,” he said.

Man­tashe asked what Dlamini Zuma and her back­ers would do if he also con­tested for pres­i­dency, as was the case with a num­ber of the party’s of­fi­cials.

“The pos­si­bil­ity with the sta­bil­ity that we are hav­ing is that you could have a GM17 now con­test­ing to be pres­i­dent. Would they say ‘no, the SG can­not be con­test­ing the po­si­tion of the pres­i­dent be­cause he is a sec­re­tary gen­eral?’”

Man­tashe de­fended his avail­abil­ity to serve and called on his de­trac­tors to cam­paign and win the up­com­ing elec­tion in­stead of be­ing petty.

“Three of the six of­fi­cials are can­di­dates for pres­i­dent and no­body makes any noise about that,” Man­tashe said.

With only four weeks left be­fore the ANC’s cru­cial na­tional elec­tive congress, Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa have emerged as the main con­tenders in the race as the rul­ing party’s branches con­tinue to fi­nalise their nom­i­na­tions.

Man­tashe com­plained that Zuma and Dlamini Zuma’s back­ers were al­lowed to en­dorse her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

“In Kim­berly, in a gov­ern­ment event, there was singing of ‘We are ready, we are ready for Nkosazana’ and there was no noise about that,” Man­tashe said.

MK Vets chief Kebby Maphat­soe de­fended Zuma, say­ing he was only “singing along” at the event.

“You can’t sit down when peo­ple are singing and you know he (Zuma) likes to sing,” Maphat­soe said.

He ac­cused both Man­tashe of Ramaphosa of cre­at­ing a “wrong prece­dent” by openly declar­ing their pref­er­ences, adding that he and his fac­tion would not re­spect Ramaphosa even if he won.

“Be­cause of what they have done, it will be dif­fi­cult to bring unity in the ANC.”

GWEDE MAN­TASHE

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