Don't howl at us, engage us – Mantashe

2016-04-07 19:00
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Johannesburg  Those "howling" at the ANC to take action against President Jacob Zuma should come and engage the party, including veterans who had called for him to resign, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.

"The ANC is an organisation, it's not just a free for all, it has this constitution, it has membership. That's where we take refuge to," he told News24.

"Even the veterans who go and march and all those things. If they are members in good standing they have branches."

Mantashe said the ANC was also willing to engage with other organisations and structures who wanted to talk to it.

According to Volksblad, Mantashe told an alliance summit in the Northern Cape on Wednesday that the party's members had a responsibility to stand behind Zuma.

He reportedly said the ANC would be weakened if Zuma was axed, and that it was about the movement and not the individual.

Calls for Zuma to resign increase

The calls for Zuma to resign have increased following the Constitutional Court's ruling that he had failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial action regarding payment for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

The call has come from opposition parties, civil society, some ANC members and party veterans such as Ahmed Kathrada, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus and uMkhonto weSizwe veteran, Mavuso Msimang.

On Wednesday, Carolus and Msimang joined civil society organisations on the steps of the Constitutional Court  and called on Zuma to resign or be removed by ANC structures.

They were joined by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, former Constitutional Court Justice Zak Yacoob, Anglican Bishop Joe Seoka, and former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola.

'Civil society can mobilise'

Mantashe said ANC veterans needed to decide if they were party members or activists.

"Organs of civil society are fine  they can go mobilise, that is their job. But veterans of the ANC, if they are civil society, they must be civil society. They can't be civil society and veterans of the ANC as they wish."

He said Msimang had been disingenuous, because he had met with the ANC in his capacity as CEO of the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation. This was after the foundation, along with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, wrote a letter to the ANC.

Regarding Carolus, Mantashe said he had sent her message.

"I said, 'Cheryl, I prefer to disagree with you than misunderstand you. If you talk to us, we will understand where you coming from and understand your position, but if you go and choose to go and stand out there and shout at us we will misunderstand you'," he said.

Political dialogue

Mantashe said the ANC had been engaging with its structures.

The ANC's Sefako Makgatho branch in the Greater Johannesburg region called on Zuma to resign or face the party's integrity commission or the national disciplinary committee.

At the party's Liliesleaf Farm branch's political dialogue held in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Wednesday night, there appeared to be a consensus that other branches should follow the example of the Sefako Makgatho branch.

Mantashe brushed this off, saying it was one or two branches out of more than 4 000 ANC branches.

He called on branches not to air their grievances in public, but engage with the party.

"Branches are going to talk to us, we are going to the regions. We are talking to the branches of the ANC... So to tell us through the media is also mischievous. They must go to these meetings, ask us questions, we answer them... that's how the ANC works," Mantashe said.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  gwede mantashe  |  nkandla upgrade  |  politics

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