Gwede: we’re under attack

2012-12-16 10:00

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The ANC’s national leadership has had to face a “massive offensive” from “a range of forces” since being elected in Polokwane five years ago.

This is what the party’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, will tell delegates at its 53rd elective conference in Mangaung, which begins today.

Mantashe is scheduled to present his organisational report – extracts of which were shown to City Press – this morning.

In his report, Mantashe states that these “forces” include “sections of the liberal media; sections of the judiciary; some NGOs, some of which are led by disgruntled members of (the) movement; some sections of the intelligentsia; some analysts and commentators; and prominent individuals”.

The point of this offensive, according to Mantashe’s report, is to delegitimise the ANC by saying life was “better under apartheid”.

He states: “The sub-theme is that the current ANC has moved away from the values and traditions of the ANC, and its leadership has no vision and cannot drive organisational renewal.”

But the ANC itself has helped these perceptions gain ground, as Mantashe notes: “Unfortunately, this offensive is plugging into the announcements and pronouncements made by ourselves when we attack each other in public.

This portrays our movement as (one) in crisis that can only be savedby those who subscribe to the notion that we are in crisis.”

He refers to the recall of former president Thabo Mbeki as “the most difficult period during the past five-year term”, and further states: “This judgment (by Judge Chris Nicholson) was handed down in an environment where there was a sense of two centres of power inhibiting progress.

“The view was that every decision of the NEC (national executive committee) was contested in government and had to be negotiated before implementation.

This judgment became the tipping point.”

He adds that the meeting in which it was decided to recall Mbeki was one of the longest the NEC had ever had.

“This decision was very serious, painful and reverberated throughout the organisation (and the country).”

According to the report, the fight against corruption is being led by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

“We have seen few leading cadres of the movement being affected by this drive,” he comments diplomatically, not mentioning names.

In the past three years, Madonsela has made findings against President Jacob Zuma, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and former ministers Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and Sicelo Shiceka.

Discipline in the party is an issue Mantashe pays close attention to.

His solution is that there must be consequences for those who cross the line.

The report states: “The ANC must make it unattractive to disrupt ANC gatherings, insulting leaders of the movement and opponents in public gatherings, assaulting fellow comrades in meetings or manipulating processes. This can only be stopped if there are consequences to deviant behaviour.”

The ANC Youth League positioned itself as a “counterforce” to the ANC.

“This behaviour has cost the movement heavily over time.

It was unfortunate that the approach to the question of discipline was not unanimous among NEC members,” Mantashe states, referring to Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, who raised the outcome of the disciplinary hearing of expelled youth leader Julius Malema at an NEC meeting for possible review.

“This became another point of disagreement in the NEC, dividing (it) into those for and those against.”

The elevation of former Cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to chair the African Union (AU) Commission needs to be actively supported by the ANC, according to the report, as this will help change the negative perception that South Africa and the ANC have on the African continent.

“It is the support for the programmes of the AU that will remove the myth that the ANC has removed the continent from its political radar. The deadlock in the (voting) was a clear indication that more work needs to be done to destroy the colonial barriers between English and French-speaking African countries.”

With regards to state-owned enterprises, Mantashe’s report notes that the sector is seen as one “in disarray”, an example being the public broadcaster.

“The NEC sub-committee spent a lot of time trying to stabilise the SABC. There is now a greater degree of stability, although a number of boardroom fights still surface in the headlines.”

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