Don't defend Zuma, defend the ANC – Mantashe

2016-04-11 11:17
Gwede Mantashe. (File, City Press)

Gwede Mantashe. (File, City Press)

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Johannesburg - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Sunday said those wanting to defend the ANC should defend the party first, not its president, it has been reported.

Mantashe was speaking at the 23rd commemoration of the death of Chris Hani on Sunday in Boksburg, where he was the keynote speaker.

Times Live reported Mantashe as saying there was no duty in the ANC to defend and protect Zuma alone. Party members should rather defend the organisation, and Zuma must take refuge in the organisation.

He said extreme views by ANC members were wrong, News24 reported on Sunday. "When we debate, we debate to the extremes and the debate gets polemical.

"Some say Zuma must go and some say they will fight for Zuma. Both extremes are wrong. There is no duty to defend only Zuma. You defend the president of the ANC as part of the party."

Eyewitness News quoted Mantashe as admitting that certain sectors of society was trusting the ANC less and less, but the real issue was not about Zuma. He said the party must aim to win back those sectors' trust.

According to The Star, Mantashe said the ANC was weighing the consequences of Zuma leaving as president of the party early.

He also insisted that the party would not “succumb” to the DA's call for Zuma to be impeached, describing advice given from the “enemy” as poisonous,The Star report added. He said the ANC will make its own decisions.

Zuma not ‘perfect’

Mantashe also criticised a reverend who spoke at the memorial, after he told the crowd during a prayer that Zuma was "perfect", News24 reported on Sunday.

During his opening prayer, Reverend Joseph Maphatsoe praised Zuma saying, "Zuma is perfect, no one is more perfect than Zuma".

He went on to say that South Africans should forgive Zuma.

This did not sit well with Mantashe, who scolded religious leaders for being praise singers. 

During his address, he said, "We ask you religious leaders to pray for the ANC but not be praise singers [of an individual]."

State capture

State capture and the role played by the Guptas within the ANC meanwhile became a hot topic during the commemoration, News24 reported.

Cosatu secretary general Bheki Ntshalintshali told the crowd that the Guptas have abused workers and were no different from several white capitalists.

SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande too said people should not excuse the Guptas because they are not white capitalists.

“Some are asking why the Guptas should be fought when we have Rupert and other capitalist holy guards who have long captured either the apartheid state or even parts of post-apartheid. We would like to debate this. It’s as if the Guptas are an answer to the Ruperts.

“We fought against the Kebble family that tried to capture the ANC Youth League. We stood up and said it’s wrong. Neither the Ruperts, or the Koos Bekkers or the Guptas are safe,” he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  chris hani  |  jacob zuma  |  gwede mantashe  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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