Mantashe drawn into ANC’s Mpumalanga power struggle

2015-04-14 17:06

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Regional ANC leaders in Mpumalanga have attacked secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in an apparent attempt to derail a probe that might lead to the Ehlanzeni top structure’s disbandment.

City Press has obtained a leaked Ehlanzeni regional executive committee political report that accuses Mantashe of failing to protect Premier David Mabuza against attacks by South African Communist Party (SACP) leaders – provincial secretary Bonakele Majuba and second deputy secretary Mandla Tibane in particular.

Ehlanzeni is the biggest Mpumalanga ANC region and Mabuza’s stronghold.

The report, which tries to give the regional executive committee’s position on the frosty ANC and SACP relations in the province, also claims that the SACP leaders boasted that they were close to Mantashe and could therefore attack Mabuza at will.

Ehlanzeni’s regional executive committee met Mantashe in Mbombela on March 18 – a few weeks after he appointed a two-member task team of veterans to investigate an unprecedented incident of physical violence between ANC and SACP members at KaNyamazane outside Mbombela on January 25.

The final investigation report is expected to be scathing of the regional executive committee leaders who threatened their SACP counterparts when they declined to remove former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa as guest speaker for a memorial lecture in honour of SACP stalwart Joe Slovo and former Mbombela council speaker Jimmy Mohlala.

Ehlanzeni leaders attended the aborted lecture, but did nothing to stop ANC members who provoked the SACP and closed the gate to the hall before assaulting them with stones, bottles, sjamboks and pickaxe handles.

Majuba angered the ANC when he called for Mabuza to be investigated after Phosa submitted an intelligence report to Luthuli House claiming the premier was a former apartheid spy.

The task team has not finished its probe.

“[These attacks] have been taking place for quite a number of years ... Mantashe’s office has been silent about this issue because there was no political intervention from his office,” reads the report.

“The regional executive committee feels that all comrades who are attacking and fighting the ANC in the province do it in the name of the secretary-general as they proudly claim that they have direct contact with his office. Such comrades take and use the opportunity that the secretary-general became the chairperson of the SACP … This gives them the opportunity to attack the ANC chairperson without the political intervention of the secretary-general.”

The report also reminded Mantashe that he was elected to treat comrades equally in his leadership.

“We feel that when the ANC and its leadership, particularly Mabuza, was under attack from [Majuba], when he used to call him a corrupt leader, a killer and a spy, your office was [expected] to intervene because [Mabuza] is the face of the province,” the report adds.

Ehlanzeni regional secretary Phazamisa Mathe did not respond to questions texted to him.

Mantashe, according to an insider’s minutes, told the regional executive committee that Majuba was Mabuza’s equal and the matter needed the intervention of both party’s provincial executive committees.

Mantashe allegedly said the regional executive committee considered itself more powerful than the provincial executive committee and warned that the region made Mabuza vulnerable by doing wrong things while using his name and compromised him.

He also allegedly told the regional executive committee that he was not prepared to use his position to do anyone favours and that he was not concerned about who supported him or not.

Mantashe responded: “Whoever gave you selective information is destroying the ANC. They gave you what they wrote but not the outcome of the meeting. That is malicious and opportunistic.”

He said he was not a provincial secretary and could not jump into conflicts in all the nine provinces.

Mantashe would not be drawn into commenting about progress of the task team’s investigation and said it was an “organisational” matter.

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