Gwede Mantashe PHOTO: Deaan Vivier ~
If the ANC is flat-footed on any public issue it leaves a vacuum in the leadership of society, outgoing ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has said.
Speaking during his last media briefing on Monday in Nasrec – just hours before his successor would be announced at the ANC national elective conference – Mantashe said several scandals that he had to deal with during his term, such as Nkandla, state capture and the Constitutional Court judgment, were examples that the ANC needed to be decisive.
If departments did not properly manage a project in Nkandla – President Jacob Zuma’s homestead in northern KwaZulu-Natal – that would “impact on us”, he said.
He said Nkandla was “one debate that continues to divide us but imposes a responsibility on the leadership of the ANC to engage and provide response”.
“That is the responsibility facing the new leadership of the ANC,” said Mantashe, who is standing for election as chairperson against Arts and Culture Minster Nathi Mthethwa.
On Sunday, both Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former AU commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma accepted nominations for the presidential position in the race to succeed Zuma.
Mantashe said anything that happened in government when the ANC was leading directly affected the ANC.
“The ANC must take firm decisions and provide leadership to society,” he said, adding that if the ANC was in doubt then society could go in any direction.
He said the ANC was recognised as a trailblazer and a leader of society and it must continue to be so.
On Sunday Mantashe presented the organisational report to conference delegates.
He said that “something is not well if a number of provinces come to conference with court cases and judgment”.
He also spoke against the mudslinging that preceded the conference, particularly against those contesting for positions.
The party was also rife with factionalism and slate politics – “which weakened the organisation and marginalised great activists”.
“We did everything to undo factions,” he said, adding that as a team member he “took responsibility for any failure”.
Mantashe said the new secretary-general must be accessible, otherwise the organisation will suffer.
“The incoming secretary must remember that you must get your feet quickly on the ground in terms of your relationship with journalists.”
Others are going to provoke you deliberately; avoid being angry, he said.
“That is your responsibility. Engage them and do not run away and disappear.”