Man­tashe cracks the party whip

As pow­er­ful re­gion en­dorses Ramaphosa and backs Man­tashe, sec­re­tary-gen­eral warns against ‘join­ing forces with the en­emy’

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

The sec­ond-biggest ANC re­gion in the coun­try, the East­ern Cape, has en­dorsed Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa as the next pres­i­dent of the party, and wants cur­rent sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe to re­turn into the top six. Xo­lile Nkom­pela, the ANC’s OR Tambo regional chair­per­son, told a me­mo­rial lec­ture in hon­our of slain Com­mu­nist Party leader Chris Hani that the party wanted to en­sure that Man­tashe re­turned to be­ing part of the top six when new lead­ers were elected in De­cem­ber. Man­tashe de­liv­ered the me­mo­rial lec­ture. Nkom­pela, who spoke be­fore Man­tashe at a packed OR Tambo Hall in Mthatha on Fri­day, said they also wanted change in the provin­cial ANC lead­er­ship, led by Premier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle, who is also chair of the ANC.

He said they wanted cur­rent provin­cial sec­re­tary Os­car Mabuyane to replace Ma­su­alle at the provin­cial elec­tive con­fer­ence in July with a new lead­er­ship col­lec­tive.

Later, in an interview with City Press, Nkom­pela said his re­gion would sup­port Ramaphosa, who is vy­ing for the po­si­tion of party pres­i­dent against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“When go­ing to [the ANC na­tional con­fer­ence in] Polokwane in 2007, we said the deputy pres­i­dent of the ANC must be pres­i­dent. We are not con­fused about that and we are still main­tain­ing that.

“Un­less we can be con­vinced oth­er­wise, we are saying the DP [deputy pres­i­dent Ramaphosa] is ready when the pres­i­dent of the ANC, com­rade Ja­cob Zuma, steps down in De­cem­ber.

“The pres­i­dent of the ANC at the mo­ment is Zuma. There is no con­tes­ta­tion about that and we have to re­spect him. But im­me­di­ately af­ter the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee is dis­solved in De­cem­ber, we start to nominate and vote for the nom­i­nated lead­ers. We will vote for Ramaphosa as pres­i­dent,” said Nkom­pela.

He said although they were not sure yet what po­si­tion they would nominate Man­tashe for, they wanted him back in the top six as “he is a prin­ci­pled leader”.

In his ad­dress at the me­mo­rial lec­ture, Man­tashe lashed out at fac­tion­al­ism. He re­ferred to the cur­rent go­ings-on ahead of the elec­tive con­fer­ence as a silly sea­son, saying a lot of dirt would be thrown at peo­ple.

On the is­sue of the pres­i­dent’s re­cent con­tro­ver­sial Cab­i­net reshuf­fle, Man­tashe said they had since re­in­stated the ques­tion of consultation with the ANC.

“We are not ask­ing for a favour that we must be con­sulted. We must be con­sulted. That was a res­o­lu­tion taken at the 52nd na­tional con­fer­ence [held in Polokwane in Lim­popo]. We reaf­firm that.

“We also reaf­firm that the in­tel­li­gence re­port [im­pli­cat­ing for­mer finance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han] that was used [to fire Gord­han] com­pli­cated our space.

“It was even worse when the min­is­ter of in­tel­li­gence called a press con­fer­ence and said the re­port was not theirs. So, who does it be­long to?”

Man­tashe added that it was a mis­take to sug­gest that some mem­bers of the ANC’s top six were now rebels be­cause they had raised is­sues about the or­gan­i­sa­tion in prin­ci­ple. This was in ref­er­ence to pub­lic ut­ter­ances Man­tashe had made, along with Ramaphosa and trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize, ex­press­ing con­cern over Zuma’s Cab­i­net reshuf­fle. “We can­not be rebels be­cause we are rais­ing is­sues af­fect­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion. We are go­ing to raise is­sues of the or­gan­i­sa­tion now and in fu­ture. We want the or­gan­i­sa­tion to at­tend to those is­sues.

“But you can­not ex­pect me, as sec­re­tary­gen­eral, to team up with op­po­si­tion par­ties be­cause I am an­gry. It is the worst thing that can hap­pen to me,” Man­tashe said.

He said more de­tail on the rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion be­ing es­poused was needed be­cause cur­rently, peo­ple were us­ing the term, but it was “hol­low in con­tent”. “If we want to hon­our com­rade Chris [Hani], we must fight fac­tion­al­ism in all its forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions. The prob­lem with fac­tion­al­ism is that we do not see it is wrong when it suits us [not to to so].

“I can see Nkom­pela is be­ing mis­chievous, saying they want Gwede first, which makes me think this is right. But no, fac­tion­al­ism is wrong. It has few ef­fects. It di­vides, it de­stroys, it mu­tates.”

Man­tashe said the East­ern Cape was a very im­por­tant prov­ince but was di­vided. He said ev­ery­one’s strength was their base, their home.

“You must talk to each other and unify the prov­ince. If you don’t do that, you are giving your­selves a lux­ury you do not have. You must not al­low peo­ple who are car­ry­ing money bags to divide you.

“I can see that the East­ern Cape is be­com­ing a Mecca of sorts; ev­ery­one is coming here for pil­grim­ages.

“They come here to cut their small piece from this prov­ince. You should not al­low that. All I am saying is that fac­tion­al­ism must be fought,” he said.

Man­tashe said an SA Com­mu­nist Party, un­der its erst­while leader Hani, would never have shared a platform “with the en­emy” be­cause he was ir­ri­tated by Zuma.

“He would not. He would deal with this ir­ri­ta­tion of Ja­cob Zuma here and fight it,” he said.

“You must never have a Com­mu­nist Party that joins forces with the en­emy for im­me­di­ate sat­is­fac­tion. That can­not hap­pen. Chris Hani would not have al­lowed that.”

The ANC’s 54th na­tional con­fer­ence, tak­ing place from De­cem­ber 16 to 20, was an op­por­tu­nity for the party to cor­rect it­self, Man­tashe said.

He said the prob­lem was that mem­bers were not dis­cussing lead­er­ship of the ANC not in terms of prin­ci­ple but in terms of preference.

“We must ... dis­cuss lead­er­ship in terms of track record and be­hav­iour in the or­gan­i­sa­tion. If we don’t do that, as much as we com­plain about cor­rupt in­di­vid­u­als and loot­ers in the or­gan­i­sa­tion, we will con­tinue elect­ing a lead­er­ship that sends the same mes­sage,” he said.

PHOTO: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

UNI­FIED The launch of new union fed­er­a­tion Saftu took place at the Birch­wood Ho­tel and Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Boks­burg. From left: Mb­haz­ima Shilowa, Jay Naidoo, Zwelinz­ima Vavi and Ron­ald Mo­fo­keng

Gwede Man­tashe

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