Gender of ANC leader irrelevant‚ according to Mantashe
Olebogeng Molatlhwa | 2017-06-07 14:20:56.0
Gwede Mantashe, Secretary General of the ANC. File photo.
Image by: Veli Nhlapo, Sowetan
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has effectively dismissed the call for the next president of the party to be woman as nothing but a campaign slogan.
Addressing members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association on Wednesday‚ Mantashe said: “We don’t have anything called a woman president in the ANC or a male president‚ ok? We look for the president of the ANC – male or female – because if we elect a female‚ that female will not be a female president but will be the president of the ANC. It’s as simple as that. The terminology that it must a woman president is a manufacturing of terms that feeds campaigning. We need a president of the ANC; male or female.”
This comes as elements of the youth and women’s leagues as well as the party branch in the Free State have come out in support of former AU Commission Chairman Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the next leader of the 105-year-old organisation.
Dlamini-Zuma‚ who has also been openly endorsed by President Jacob Zuma‚ is expected to go head-to-head with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a wide ranging interview with members of the association‚ Mantashe strongly suggested that while it may be difficult to get rid of Zuma now‚ it may not be as difficult once he is no longer ANC president.
“We’re saying we having six months to go to the national elective conference. Once we go to that elective conference‚ we elect a new leadership of the ANC. That is a very important milestone because beyond that point‚ many things are possible. What I am saying is that his term [as state president] ends in 2019 but beyond December‚ the conversation becomes less complex.”
He explained that it was easier to recall former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008 because he was no longer leader of the ANC‚ adding that‚ in Zuma’s case‚ this would be difficult because he is the incumbent.
Mantashe also reiterated the recent call by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) that there be a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture‚ involving the controversial Gupta family and prominent members of the party.
Mantashe said the ongoing allegations hurt the ANC because they had at their centre “leaders of the ANC” but he sought to demonstrate that the ANC was not reacting to the allegations by claiming that the party and its alliance partners had begun the debate about corporate capture and then state capture.
He said it was imperative that the commission be immediately instituted‚ adding that consequences from the probe should follow soon after.
“We raised three phases of the problem. We started with something called corporate capture‚ where a company will sponsor me and my campaign and sponsor to put dirt on me and once as a result of that‚ I represent their interests in political discussions‚ we call that corporate capture. That graduates into state capture when you begin to put the state infrastructure to protect the interests of a private company. And we said‚ once you graduate beyond that and you begin to use state security to protect private interests‚ you are drifting towards a mafia state. It’s us [the tripartite alliance members) who raised this discussion.
“As a result of that‚ people get emboldened; they begin to talk. We invite them [to say] come and talk to us. Eight of them came to talk to me and I said let’s put it down in writing and only one came to me and we closed that [process] after a few months and I said listen‚ ‘go to any state institution outside of the ANC if you think we will use it against you.’
“That’s why there was a flood to the Public Protector [and] much later to the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the information is coming up. It is quite damaging to the ANC and it damages the ANC as a consequence because we are the governing party because many of people cited there as Gupta beneficiaries are leaders of the ANC. So we’re paying the price for that.
“With that‚ that’s why we all agreed that the right thing to do as recommended by the Public Protector is to institute a judicial commission of inquiry because anything that is not tested is sometimes very damaging. We test it and then consequences will follow from the judicial commission of inquiry and we’re supporting that‚” he said.