Mantashe: suspension rumours ‘fake news’
JOHANNESBURG — African National Congress secretarygeneral Gwede Mantashe says the circulation of “fake news” of his impending suspension is a desperate act in the fierce battle for leadership ahead of the December elective conference.
The office of the secretarygeneral is seen as powerful ahead of the contested conference. During an interview with SABC’s
Special Assignment on Monday evening, Mantashe said the special National Executive Committee, which met over the weekend, had never discussed his suspension.
“It can only come from the ANC. No other person from outside the ANC can even discuss and contemplate suspending the secretarygeneral,” he said. Mantashe labelled the rumours as “fake news”.
He said: “You can’t work for an organisation for nine years and 11 months and, when you are left with four weeks [to the conference], people have the courage to suspend you. It’s not doable.”
This was echoed by the party’s parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu, who tweeted: “There was no discussion of removal of SG @GwedeMantashe1 @MYANC NEC or NWC. This is fake news.”
The ANC, in an unusual move, also released a statement warning party members and South Africans to be wary of “fake news”.
“It never arose in the NEC. I was reading this headline for two days that Mantashe was suspended ... the Zuma faction want to suspend Mantashe, and I go to the NEC for three days, it didn’t arise once,” Mantashe told Special Assignment.
The special NEC, which started on Saturday, November 11, was dominated by sharp differences over the fate of the Eastern Cape elective conference, dubbed the “festival of chairs”.
President Jacob Zuma loyalists in the NEC pushed for the Eastern Cape’s Provincial Elective Committee to be disbanded after the conference was marred by violence that saw at least seven people hospitalised.
The special NEC was adjourned to Sunday, to allow for the National Working Committee (NWC) to discuss its report following their Zumaled visit to the province.
The NWC members are said to have contradicted each other during the NEC meeting.
However, it was then abandoned on Sunday, to reconvene on Monday, after the NWC could not conclude deliberations.
The Zuma faction lost their bid on Monday after the meeting agreed to instead appoint a task team to hear the appeal of the disgruntled Eastern Cape members.
The antiZuma faction within the NEC argued that the Eastern Cape PEC could not be disbanded while the KwaZuluNatal PEC was still standing.
A court judgment has nullified the KwaZuluNatal elective conference; however, the elected PEC still stands as the ANC plans to appeal the court ruling.
Mantashe told Special Assignment that the NEC had dealt with five different reports on the chaotic Eastern Cape conference.
He explained that the first report was compiled by NEC deployees, who had tabled their observations of conference processes.
While the second report came from the elected Eastern Cape PEC, a third was by a section of the old PEC that is appealing the outcome of the conference.
The fourth report was by the old secretariat of the Eastern Cape and the fifth one, an oral report, was of a visit by the NWC to all the regions in the province.
Disgruntled Eastern Cape members have since withdrawn their legal challenge against the elective conference. They are now pinning their hopes on the task team.