Business Day

Zuma takes swipe at Manuel on apartheid

President’s pointed remarks may further sideline planning chief

- SAM MKOKELI Political Editor

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday slapped down Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, taking a thinly veiled swipe at him by insisting that the government would not stop blaming the legacy of apartheid for SA’s problems.

Mr Manuel caused a stir last week when he said the government should stop blaming apartheid for delivery failures nearly two decades into democracy.

He told the 2013 Government Leadership Summit in Pretoria: “We should no longer say it’s apartheid’s fault. We should get up every morning and recognise that we have responsibi­lity. There’s no Botha regime looking over our shoulder, we are responsibl­e ourselves.”

Mr Manuel’s remarks caused a storm in alliance circles, with the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union launching an attack at the weekend, calling him a frustrated and disillusio­ned “maverick”, who regarded himself as a “super minister”.

Mr Manuel could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Zuma’s pointed remarks, delivered on the 20th anniversar­y of the death of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, further underline Mr Manuel’s “outsider” status in the Cabinet.

Mr Zuma waded into what has become a ruling alliance-wide tussle, saying it was a “mistake, to say the least” to say that the government should stop using the apartheid card. While not mentioning Mr Manuel by name, he said the issue of “blaming apartheid” was “topical” last week.

“To suggest we cannot blame apartheid for what is happening in our country now, I think is a mistake, to say the least. We don’t need to indicate what it is apartheid did. The fact that the country is two in one — you go to any city, there is a beautiful part and squatters on the other side — this is not the making of democracy and we can’t stop blaming those who caused it,” said Mr Zuma.

“While wanting to see change happening fast in every corner of the country, we are under no illusion that SA will automatica­lly and comprehens­ively change in only 20 years. That is impossible. The legacy of apartheid runs too deep and too far back for the democratic administra­tion to reverse it in so short a period.”

Despite overseeing the National Developmen­t Plan last year, Mr Manuel has remained largely on the periphery and open to attacks from alliance leaders.

He declined nomination to the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) national executive committee in December, having been a leading member of the party’s most senior body for 21 years. That has fuelled speculatio­n that he would not make himself available for another term as minister when his current term expires next year — or may even quit before that.

While responsibl­e for an important portfolio, Mr Manuel is not as central to the Zuma cabinet as he was under former president Thabo Mbeki.

At a briefing yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said “apartheid will not vanish into thin air”.

He said power relations in SA had not changed much, and favoured those who had benefited under apartheid.

Mr Mantashe said the matter must not be dealt with through any emotion, including “anger”. “But we must appreciate the impact of this evil system on the society.” With Setumo Stone

THE African National Congress (ANC) yesterday appointed entreprene­ur Mzwandile Masina to head the temporary task team of the ANC Youth League.

The masters graduate is a wellknown loyalist of President Jacob Zuma. Last year he was publicly attacked by former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s supporters for being a “youth league reject”.

Mr Masina is also the CEO of the Gauteng Film Commission and former chief operating officer of the department of sports and recreation in Gauteng. He has also served as a chief director in the national Department of Mineral Resources.

The ANC disbanded the national executive committee of the youth league last month, citing “ill-discipline” as the reason. Maropene Ntuli is the only remaining executive member.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said after the disbandmen­t that the party wanted to bring in young, educated people who would be able to connect with the youth without necessaril­y raising their voice.

The 22-member national task team would be “guided” by ANC national executive committee members Mcebisi Skwatsha, Pinky Moloi and David Mahlobo, said Mr Mantashe.

Mr Masina will be assisted by former South African Students Congress secretary-general Mag- asela Mzobe, who becomes the task team co-ordinator.

Shaka Sisulu, the grandson of ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu and the son of Parliament speaker Max Sisulu, is also a member of the team. Also on the team are Braam Hanekom, the nephew of Science and Technology Minister and ANC national executive member Derek Hanekom.

Former ANC Youth League deputy chairwoman in the Northern Cape Bongiwe Gigaba, who was suspended in November for supporting Mr Zuma, also made the cut, as did Young Communist League deputy chairman Mawethu Rune and former ANC Youth League chairman in KwaZulu-Natal Mxolisi Kaunda.

Others on the team are Silence Ntshavheni­the, the former spokeswoma­n for the Limpopo premier’s office under Ngoako Ramatlhodi; former Azanian People’s Organisati­on activist Thembinkos­i Josopu; Rebone Tau; Adelle Naidoo; Smangaliso Mntengwana; Jolene Samuels; Cynthia Theko; Joel Seabi; Bridget Mogakwe-Seakamo; Bandile Masuku; Victoria de Beer; Nomvuyo Mhlakaza; Johan Mkhatshwa and Nokuthula Mbesa.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte hinted yesterday that the task team may have to dissolve some structures of the league. “We need proper auditing of the branch membership and there may be a need for work on some regions and subregions,” she said.

 ?? Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO ?? South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande and Gwede Mantashe lay a wreath to mark the 20th anniversar­y of the assassinat­ion of Chris Hani, at an East Rand cemetery yesterday.
Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande and Gwede Mantashe lay a wreath to mark the 20th anniversar­y of the assassinat­ion of Chris Hani, at an East Rand cemetery yesterday.

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