ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has warned of the governing party’s imminent death if the use of state resources to dislodge political opponents continues in the lead up to the December elective conference.
Mantashe, in an admission that the ANC was powerless in putting a stop to what plagued the 2007 Polokwane conference where President Jacob Zuma was elected, said the only option was for the ANC to appeal to its members to desist from using dirty tricks.
He condemned the use of apartheid tactics, saying the “ANC is sure to die” if it resorts to such conduct.
This comes in the wake of leaked emails in the Sunday Independent’s possession which claimed that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had at least eight extra-marital affairs.
“We fought the use of state institutions going to Polokwane. It can’t be that we are in power and we allow that to continue,” he told journalists on Tuesday as he outlined the processes towards the much-awaited December conference where Zuma’s successor will be crowned.
“If (we) get relegated to that level, the ANC is sure going to die. I’m not going to get into details of what the deputy president feels about that.”
Mantashe said he alone could not act when questioned on what action the ANC was taking against the alleged abuse of state insitutions, despite holding the most powerful position in the governing party.
“Let’s demystify this power of the secretary-general who must ensure that there is a fair contest and so forth. It is not the individual’s responsibility but it’s the (responsibility of the leadership of the ANC) in provinces, regions and branches,” he said
“State institutions are in the state. That’s why we call them state institutions. The ANC has no direct authority over state institutions. When they listen to your conversations on the telephone, all we can say is ‘this thing of listening to people is bad’ and say to comrades who are running the state ‘let’s not be listened to when we phone’.”
“Comrades must contest on the basis of logic, policies, traditions, and values of the ANC. Comrades must present their case on what they will do to take the country out of the morass that it is drifting into. That is what we should be doing here,” he said.
He also appealed to journalists to resist being used in “dirty tricks”.
Ramaphosa has threatened to lay a complaint with the inspector-general of intelligence about the leaked emails.
He has since admitted to having had an affair with only one of the eight women and said he had ended it years ago – a matter that had been resolved with his wife.
His attempts to bar the newspaper from publishing a stories about his private life were thwarted on Saturday in a judgement by the South Gauteng High Court, moments before publication deadlines.
Ramaphosa has described claims made about his personal life as an “episode [that] extends far beyond an attempt at political smear”.
“It represents an escalation of a dirty war against those who are working to restore the values, principles and integrity of the African National Congress and society,” the presidential hopeful said.
Judge Bashier Vally did not hold back as he dismissed with costs the urgent application brought by Ramaphosa. His argument that publishing the story amounted to a breach of privacy fell flat.
But Ramaphosa ramained resolute about his ambitions. He campaigned in the Westrand at the weekend where he indicated he was not deterred and declared he will not pull out of the presidential race.
His supporters have taken to social media to vow they will stand behind him regardless of reports about his private life.
Ramaphosa has also received support from some senior ANC members including parliamentary chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, who urged branches to nominate him as the next ANC president.