Mantashe hits back at his crit­ics in the ANC

Zuma’s back­ers not happy with his con­duct ahead of crunch time

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - 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 weSizwe Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion (MKMVA) went to the ex­tent of threat­en­ing that they would boo Ramaphosa when he ad­dresses them, as the deputy pres­i­dent and Mantashe were di­vi­sive in the ANC.

ANC leagues yes­ter­day ac­cused Mantashe of fac­tion­al­ism for his links to Ramaphosa’s cam­paign, ar­gu­ing that 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 spokesper­son 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 would Dlamini Zuma and her back­ers do if he also con­tested for the pres­i­dency, as was the case with some 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 asked.

He 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 now 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 for the up­com­ing con­fer­ence.

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

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

MKMVA head 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,” he said.

He ac­cused Mantashe and Ramaphosa of cre­at­ing a wrong prece­dent by openly declar­ing their pref­er­ences, adding he and his fac­tion would not re­spect Ramaphosa if he wins.

“Be­cause of what they have done, it will be dif­fi­cult to bring unity in the ANC. When he (Ramaphosa) ad­dresses us, we will boo him and say we can’t hear from you,” Maphat­soe said.

The ANC’s spe­cial NEC has ap­pointed a seven-mem­ber ap­peal panel to probe the party’s dis­puted Eastern Cape con­fer­ence, which de­scended into chaos as war­ring fac­tions fought with chairs.

The panel will be chaired by NEC mem­ber Sbu Nde­bele and in­clude three other NEC mem­bers as well as three ad­min­is­tra­tors who will send their re­port and rec­om­men­da­tions to the party’s last NEC meet­ing.

For­mer pro­vin­cial chair­per­son and cur­rent pre­mier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle, with other for­mer pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) mem­bers, launched an ap­peal with the na­tional body against the va­lid­ity of the con­fer­ence.

Mantashe re­it­er­ated that cur­rent pro­vin­cial top brass un­der cur­rent chair­per­son Os­car Mabuyane would re­main in place, as the NEC had not dis­banded it.

This is de­spite its le­git­i­macy be­ing ques­tioned by struc­tures aligned to Dlamini Zuma, in­clud­ing the Amath­ole dis­trict.

Mabuyane and his fac­tion are back­ing Ramaphosa.

“There is a PEC in the Eastern Cape. It is not re­moved, it is be­ing ap­pealed,” Mantashe said.

With al­most 70% of branches across the coun­try hav­ing al­ready con­vened their gen­eral meet­ings, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal re­mained be­hind with the nom­i­na­tion meet­ing at 56% and 40.8% re­spec­tively, de­spite the dead­line be­ing to­day.

The NEC meet­ing over the week­end has re­solved to al­low branches un­til this week­end to hold the meet­ings.

Gwede Mantashe

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