ANC raps Manuel and dissidents

2011-03-12 21:47

The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has rapped Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel over the knuckles for his open letter criticising government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi for his remarks on coloureds.

At the same meeting, the ANC cracked the whip on dissidents in three provinces and vowed to send their top officials to resolve ­disputes over candidates’ lists.

At least two ANC national executive committee sources who attended the meeting of the party’s executive on Friday said the meeting reached agreement with the view of the party’s national working committee (NWC) “that comrades should keep quiet”.

“There was a feeling that comrades displayed poor leadership and that Manuel should not have written an open letter to a junior.

“We felt we should conscientise people to be sensitive if they are spokespersons of ministers as their comments can cost the ANC,” said a source.

A third said that if he had been rapped, it was “gently”.

While members disagreed with how he had raised his concerns, many had agreed with the substance of his criticism and understood his ­anger.

Manuel wrote an open letter to Manyi following comments the government spokesperson made in a TV interview a year ago that coloureds were “over-concentrated” in the Western Cape.

A second NEC source confirmed that Friday’s meeting endorsed the NWC’s view “that we should handle issues internally”.

At a media briefing yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe confirmed that the NEC had received a report from the NWC – which discussed the spat between Manuel and Manyi as well as other party matters.

“The question of NEC members not talking freely outside of (party) policy is a policy issue. It’s what should happen,” said Mantashe in reply to a question about whether the party would set down a ­policy concerning the matter.

The meeting also received ­reports on the situation in Libya and the Ivory Coast.

While ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu would not give details about the decisions the ruling party had taken, the two sources suggested that the meeting took a dim view of what Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was doing to remain in power.

“We are going with the international community (in condemning Libya),” said one source.

Another said: “We are part of the Security Council of the UN and can’t have a different position. ­Nobody will endorse what Gaddafi is doing.”

Mantashe refused to reveal whether President Jacob Zuma’s reported telephone call from Gaddafi had been discussed, save to say the party had analysed the situation. Zuma began yesterday’s meeting by talking about local ­government elections.

The ANC said it was on track to finalise its consolidated councillor candidates’ list despite ­problems in the Eastern Cape, where the party is facing a lawsuit in one ­region.

“We will deal with that issue but it won’t stop us finalising our work,” Mantashe said.

The party hopes to submit its final list next Monday ahead of the Independent Electoral Commission deadline of March 25 for the submission of party lists.

A third source at the NEC meeting said the ANC would not entertain reports from Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and North West due to the “extent of the problems there”.

Members of the ANC’s national list committee will visit the affected provinces next week.

Mantashe would not say who would replace outgoing ANC mayors such as Johannesburg Metro’s Amos Masondo or eThekwini Metro’s Obed Mlaba, both of whom have served two terms.

But he said regions would ­nominate three names and submit them to provincial leaders, who in turn would select a mayor from those names.

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