ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe on Tuesday spoke to Talk Radio 702 in a wide-ranging interview touching on the governing party’s upcoming national conference in December, addressed calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down, as well as a string of legal challenges the ANC is grappling with from its own members.
- Does Zuma have a hold on Mantashe? He doesn’t think so.
“Nobody has anything on me unless there is an intelligence report that can be published in future, and then there will be something on me, but there is nothing on me,” Mantashe quipped.
- He reiterated that the ANC’s highest decision-making body between conferences, the national executive committee (NEC), does not have the power to remove Zuma or him as the secretary-general from their posts.
Mantashe argued that only a special national conference of the ANC requested by the majority of NEC members or the party’s provinces can do that.
“I receive SMSs and WhatsApp messages almost every ten minutes. Many people suggesting that as secretary-general you’re not doing your job, you’re not firing the president. I always tell them that you must also have the power to hire, if you have the power to fire.”
- Does he support Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign bid for the ANC presidency?
“I don’t know if I support Cyril Ramaphosa…I want the election to go well, I’ve argued for management of succession publicly and openly,” said Mantashe.
Pressed further by McKaiser on who he supported to lead the party, Mantashe said:
“I have expressed my views. I don’t want to punt for candidates … I’m not denying or confirming the preference. I have argued publicly for management of succession.
“If it is not, it [the conference] is allowed to be a free for all; we always end up in a crisis.”
- He said the December conference would be the height of the ANC’s “self-correction process”.
“If we miss our steps in that conference in December [and] we can’t pull ourselves together, then the decline [of the ANC’s support] will be accelerated.”
- On Monday, the secretary-general of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Blade Nzimande, said Zuma will be a “non-factor” after the ANC’s national conference.
Mantashe said Nzimande’s comments could potentially stir “tensions and contradictions” ahead of the conference.
“It’s a wrong argument when you go into a conference. It’s like going to a conference and saying ‘if we win the conference, we will arrest the whole bunch of you’. It raises tensions and contradictions in a conference and you’re actually actively derailing the conference,” he said.