Sunday Times

Cyril takes ANC lead­ers to task

Mixed mes­sages will cost the ANC at the polls, pres­i­dent warns

- By QAANITAH HUNTER South Africa Politics · South Africa News · Corruption · Politics · African Politics · Crime · African National Congress · Pretoria · Reserve Bank of India · Jacob Zuma · South African Reserve Bank · Ace Magashule · United Nations General Assembly · United Nations · New York City · Cyril Ramaphosa · Pule Mabe

Cyril Ramaphosa, as ANC pres­i­dent, has crit­i­cised the party’s lead­ers for con­tra­dict­ing one an­other in pub­lic, warn­ing that this could lose votes.

Ramaphosa was ad­dress­ing the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive in Pre­to­ria.

“He told us that there has to be only one cen­tral mes­sage com­ing from the ANC and gov­ern­ment,” said a source.

Ramaphosa is­sued his re­buke as top ANC lead­ers, in­clud­ing its of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tors, is­sued state­ments that sent con­fus­ing sig­nals to the pub­lic.

Last week the ANC with­drew a state­ment that was seen to un­der­mine the Re­serve Bank’s in­de­pen­dence.

A few weeks be­fore, ANC spokesper­son Pule Mabe de­nied that there was a plot by Ja­cob Zuma el­e­ments in the party to oust Ramaphosa — an in­trigue ex­posed by the Sun­day Times.

● ANC pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has is­sued a strong re­buke to party bosses at Luthuli House, warn­ing them that con­tra­dic­tory pub­lic mes­sages will cost the party votes in next year’s elec­tions.

Ramaphosa read the riot act to se­nior ANC lead­ers at a meet­ing in Pre­to­ria this week­end of the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC), its high­est de­ci­sion­mak­ing body be­tween con­fer­ences.

Sev­eral peo­ple who at­tended the meet­ing told the Sun­day Times that, in his po­lit­i­cal re­port to the meet­ing, Ramaphosa warned of the im­pact of con­flict­ing mes­sages by se­nior ANC fig­ures when the party made pub­lic pro­nounce­ments on key is­sues.

In­sid­ers at the meet­ing said Ramaphosa “seemed an­noyed that ev­ery­one was com­mu­ni­cat­ing what they want”.

“He warned us that if these mixed mes­sages con­tin­ued, it will af­fect us in elec­tions,” a source at­tend­ing the meet­ing said.

Con­fu­sion reigned last week when the ANC’s head of eco­nomic pol­icy, Enoch Godong­wana, with­drew a state­ment is­sued by a mem­ber of the party’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions team com­ment­ing on a de­ci­sion by the South African Re­serve Bank to leave in­ter­est rates un­changed.

The state­ment said that the Re­serve Bank should “pri­ori­tise the plight of poor South Africans”.

This was seen as po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in the in­de­pen­dence of the Bank — and the drama is said to have left Ramaphosa fum­ing.

A few weeks be­fore that, ANC na­tional spokesper­son Pule Mabe is­sued an of­fi­cial ANC state­ment deny­ing that there was a plot by sup­port­ers of for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to oust Ramaphosa. This was af­ter the Sun­day Times broke the story of a se­cret meet­ing at the Ma­ha­rani ho­tel in Dur­ban, where a pos­si­ble plot against Ramaphosa was hatched.

Zizi Kodwa, the head of the ANC pres­i­dency, pub­licly crit­i­cised Mabe for is­su­ing the state­ment, say­ing the se­cret Dur­ban meet­ing had not been an of­fi­cial party meet­ing, sug­gest­ing that Mabe should not have com­mented on the mat­ter.

This ex­posed con­tra­dic­tions be­tween Ramaphosa’s of­fice at Luthuli House and that of sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule.

NEC mem­bers said Ramaphosa on Fri­day em­pha­sised that the party could not af­ford dou­ble-speak on key is­sues.

“He told us that there has to be only one cen­tral mes­sage com­ing from the ANC and gov­ern­ment,” a sec­ond source said.

In an in­ter­view prior to his de­par­ture for the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York, Ramaphosa slammed the state­ment on the Re­serve Bank, say­ing it was un­ac­cept­able that ju­nior ANC staff mem­bers were com­ment­ing on matters they did not com­pre­hend.

“It was most un­for­tu­nate that a ju­nior, very ju­nior, of­fi­cial of the ANC just goes off and is­sues a state­ment on some­thing she also does not un­der­stand. It should have not hap­pened,” he said.

Ramaphosa told the Sun­day Times that the gov­ern­ing party had to stream­line its com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“We need to have one mes­sage and a num­ber of voices. Our mes­sage must be con­sis­tent and it must not sec­ond-guess in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tu­tions like the cen­tral bank,” he said.

In his po­lit­i­cal re­port, Ramaphosa opted not to di­rectly deal with re­ports that Ma­gashule, Zuma and other ANC lead­ers were plot­ting a fight­back plan against him and his sup­port­ers.

In­stead, in­sid­ers said, Ramaphosa ded­i­cated a large part of his speech to ap­peal­ing for unity within the party.

Ramaphosa is said to have ar­gued that unity would help boost the ANC’s prospects in what is ex­pected to be a fiercely con­tested gen­eral elec­tion next year.

“He spoke about the elec­tions and how we all need to work to­gether and not be com­pla­cent,” a source said.

Ramaphosa also re­ported back to the NEC about his trip to New York and the pos­i­tive re­sponse he re­ceived to the stim­u­lus pack­age he an­nounced.

Ear­lier, there were in­di­ca­tions that the mat­ter of the al­leged plot against him would be raised from the floor by his sup­port­ers — and Ma­gashule’s sup­port­ers were said to be ready with a coun­ter­at­tack.

The meet­ing was also ex­pected to dis­cuss mea­sures to give more teeth to the ANC’s in­tegrity com­mis­sion to bet­ter clamp down on mis­be­hav­ing ANC of­fi­cials and pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

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 ?? Pic­ture: Masi Losi ?? ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule, right, and his deputy, Jessie Duarte, at the NEC meet­ing in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day.
Pic­ture: Masi Losi ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule, right, and his deputy, Jessie Duarte, at the NEC meet­ing in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day.

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