The question Gwede Mantashe couldn’t answer: Did Nkandla harm ANC image?

2014-04-11 11:51

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ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe could not provide a “yes” or “no” answer when asked yesterday if the Nkandla report had dented the ANC’s image.

Mantashe was speaking at the Wits Great Election Debate along with Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele and DA shadow minister of trade and industry Wilmot James last night.

In the debate, facilitated by Jeremy Maggs, the public was given a platform to engage with the party representatives.

“Gwede Mantashe, my comrade, I want you to be very honest with yourself. Do you think the Nkandla report did dent the image of the ANC and the legacy of Nelson Mandela? Please be honest with us,” a member of the audience asked.

Mantashe said he had read the Public Protector’s report and the inter-ministerial report and said they agreed on a number of points.

“Both these reports agree that the private residences of the president were not built with state money,” he said.

The hall, with more than 300 people in attendance, erupted in protest – to which Mantashe responded: “I don’t need to tell them what they like, I must state the facts.”

He said answering the question required him to “unbundle the question” – but the audience was still not satisfied.

“Mr Mantashe, the crowd wants you, sir, to address the question: Did the report dent the image of the ANC? It’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer,” said Maggs.

Mantashe, however, continued to “unbundle the question”.

Ramphele interjected and pleaded with him to answer the question – to which Agang supporters responded with a chant of “yes, yes, yes!”

Maggs asked the question again and Mantashe was still unable to provide a clear answer.

“Mr Mantashe, you were unable to answer the question, let’s continue to the next question,” said Maggs.

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