Paul Mashatile: I’m not going anywhere

2014-06-01 15:00

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Axed Cabinet minister and Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile has spoken out for the first time about his future, vowing not to resign and ­pledging to stay in Parliament as an ­ordinary MP.

Mashatile also intends to stay on as ANC chairperson after Gauteng’s ­upcoming provincial conference, set for the next two months.

There has been speculation about Mashatile’s future after President Jacob Zuma unexpectedly dropped him from Cabinet this week.

Gauteng has been in the spotlight ­after it dropped support by a whopping 10 percentage points during the elections. Some party leaders in Gauteng blamed Zuma’s Nkandla scandal, his lacklustre leadership and the arrival of e-tolls for the drop.

But other ANC leaders nationally ­argue that there is a case for disbanding the Gauteng structure, saying it identifies itself differently and operates “autonomously” from the party nationally.

Mashatile told City Press that he would go back to ­Parliament and wait for the chief whip to allocate him responsibilities.

“I know a number of people resigned for various reasons. Some were worried about their pensions because when you are a minister and you go back as an MP, your ­pension is calculated as an MP and you can lose a lot.

“But I am not too worried about that. I am too young to worry about pensions,” he said.

“Being an ordinary MP will give me time to help the ANC to prepare thoroughly for the local government election in 2016. We need to get back our support from 54% to the 60s.”

A Gauteng regional leader said Mashatile was not to be trusted because he is a “wounded lion” and is likely to consolidate his support in the province.

“There is no candidate strong enough to take on Mashatile and win at the forthcoming elective conference. The only way to dilute his support is for his ­detractors in the ANC national executive committee to push for the disbandment of Gauteng when it meets this coming weekend, followed by the appointment of a task team to run the province for 18 months to weaken his power bloc,” the regional leader said.

“Gauteng at present is still anti-Zuma, and if it is not managed properly, it will become the centre of the wounded.”

Mashatile said the provincial executive would meet with officials from Luthuli House on Wednesday to do a postmortem of the election results.

He said any campaign to disband the Gauteng provincial executive would not make sense.

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