Gwede slates Yengeni: 'It's easy to collect quick, populist votes'

2017-12-18 13:31
Gwede Mantashe reads from the ANC constitution on day two of the 54th National Conference. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, File)

Gwede Mantashe reads from the ANC constitution on day two of the 54th National Conference. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, File)

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Johannesburg - Outgoing African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe slammed slate politics and accused delegates such as NEC member Tony Yengeni, who insists that delegates be allowed to vote according to predetermined lists, of populism.

"Slate politics weaken an organisation. Slate politics marginalise good activists. Slate politics make the organisation have a narrow pool to fish for leadership," said Mantashe, who is a candidate for national chairperson on the Ramaphosa slate.

He was addressing the media for a final time as secretary general on Monday morning at the Nasrec Expo Centre. He was asked about the debate that raged on Sunday before voting for the top six got underway.

Visit our special report, #ANCVotes, for all the news, analysis and opinions about the ANC’s national elective conference.

Some delegates, notably from the ANC Women's League and ANC Youth League (ANCYL), wanted to take lists with the names of candidates on particular slates into the NEC to the voting booth.

The electoral officials did not want to allow that and Mantashe stood up during the plenary and read from the ANC's constitution and said the officials were within their rights to set the rules for the vote.

Convicted fraudster Yengeni then got up and said the conference was the highest decision-making body of the ANC.

LIVE FROM NASREC: I did not do any deals - Zweli Mkhize

Getting votes 'quick, quick'

"No rule can be forced on the conference! No rule!" Yengeni said.

"Tony! Tony! Tony!" the ANCYL chanted.

Mantashe said one of the conference's responsibilities was to elect leaders.

"Now, one of the things you can do to collect the last few votes, is to be populist. Okay?" Mantashe said.

"They relegated it to opportunistic populism that is intended to gain immediate votes quick, quick, quick. It happens, when you go to elections."

He said at the heart of the matter was whether delegates should go to the voting booths with lists.

"I resigned myself to say: 'We don't like slates, but we promote them,'" said Mantashe.

Conference 'creation of the ANC constitution'

He said he couldn't live with his conscience if he made a decision that would allow delegates to vote only for people who are on their list.

"That is slate politics in action," he said with noticeable distaste.

"I hope the majority of delegates will not do that."

He said he hoped that delegates would go through the ballot paper and vote for "comrades that will add value and contribute positively to the ANC".

He said the debate about the lists was not closed and would continue.

He said the conference was itself a "creation of the [ANC] constitution" and not above the constitution.

"If you think being a delegate gives you instant power above the constitution, you will create problems."

While Mantashe was speaking, the voting for the top six concluded and the counting began.

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Read more on:    anc  |  gwede mantashe  |  johannesburg  |  anc leadership race  |  politics  |  anc votes

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