Mantashe rocked the NEC boat

2011-09-24 20:59

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s bleak assessment of the state of the ruling party was rejected by his ­colleagues in the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC).

Mantashe’s scathing assessment, which paints a picture of deep divisions in the party, is contained in an organisational report presented at the NEC meeting last weekend.

It suggests that the ANC will go to its centenary conference in Mangaung in 2012 more divided than when it went to the 2007 Polokwane conference, where it ousted former leader Thabo Mbeki.

Mantashe singled out the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal as provinces that had been targeted by those who wanted to destabilise the ANC leadership. In KwaZulu-Natal he cited the killing of ANC members as a sign of this destabilisation. He also mentioned criminal charges faced by high-profile ANC members as a source of concern.

He mentioned the relationship between Free State provincial secretary Sibongile Besani and his chairperson, Ace Magashule, as another example.
Factions have built around Magashule and Besani ahead of next year’s elective provincial conference and threaten to bring instability to the heartland of the ANC’s centenary celebrations.

Besani told City Press that the provincial leadership had recently disbanded the leadership of the Thabo Mofutsanyana and Lejweleputswa regions because of growing factionalism.

Although Magashule had said he would not seek another term after his ­re-election in 2008 it looks likely that he wants to keep his influential position as provincial chairperson.

Said an NEC member: “KwaZulu-Natal and Free State were unhappy with how (Mantashe) put it that the two provinces were targeted for destabilisation.”

Another source who attended the meeting said Mantashe’s assessment was based on people’s perceptions of the ANC rather than facts.
“That is why provinces clarified the reality of the situation on the ground. The report has no status. It was meant to generate discussion,” the source said.

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