Mashatile eyes national leadership post

2017-11-26 05:59
Paul Mashatile

Paul Mashatile

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The ANC should elect a team that is self-critical and able to confront issues openly, says Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile.

Mashatile, who has been touted as a candidate for a position in the party’s top six, said that in the event of his election, he would want to work with a team that did not “brush things aside and make excuses for wrong things”.

The party is preparing to elect a successor to President Jacob Zuma at its national elective conference next month.

“South Africans want to see change and see the ANC doing things differently,” he said.

“They do not want to continue hearing about shenanigans in parastatals or about state capture and corruption.”

There is consensus in the Gauteng ANC that Mashatile has contributed enough to the province and that it is time for him to assume a national role.

In ANC circles, he has been one of the few who have had the courage to speak truth to Zuma, unlike other party officials, who have cowered in silence, fearing they might lose their plum state jobs.

For example, he told Zuma during an ANC national executive committee meeting soon after the release of the Nkandla report – in which former public protector Thuli Madonsela detailed the costs involved in the so-called security upgrades at Zuma’s private residence in KwaZulu-Natal – that he would have to pay something because there was no other way out.

Zuma ignored the advice, but later conceded defeat in the face of an embarrassing Constitutional Court judgment compelling him to cough up.

“My view is that leaders must always confront issues directly, irrespective of who they affect,” Mashatile said.

“In most cases, when I raised issues about Nkandla, I did not do so in the absence of [Zuma]. I would raise them when he was present and say: ‘President, let us pay this Nkandla thing.’

“Leaders must at all times lead without fear or favour, and without taking sides. You must be critical in your approach so that if you are wrong, then it is clear.

"You must be able to raise it so that people will remember that comrade so-and-so said this and we did not listen. I am not the one to always tell people: ‘I told you so.’”

Mashatile said the courage he sought to display was a common feature in the ANC in Gauteng.

“A lot of comrades will always say: ‘If something is wrong, let us confront it, irrespective of who is involved.’

"That is what South Africans want in leadership – not people who look at their own self-interest first.”

His outspokenness has been cited as one of the reasons Zuma has snubbed him on two occasions by favouring his deputy over him for the provincial premiership.

In 2009, Zuma appointed Nomvula Mokonyane as Gauteng premier, despite the provincial executive nominating Mashatile for the post.

And in 2014, ANC Gauteng deputy chairperson David Makhura became premier.

Mashatile said: “It is not a nice thing to be overlooked, but I have learnt to understand that deployment is not a given and there are things that leadership considers.

"If they decide that it is not you, then you need to move on.”

But, he added, Gauteng remained strong as its two centres of power were working well.

“Even though the chairperson of the province is not the premier, things have not collapsed,” he said.

“We have the ability to work together and not be paralysed by issues of who holds this or that position. By the time I leave, I can say without fear of contradiction that Gauteng is a good place.

“I have no doubt that, even if I left, it would be in good hands.”

Mashatile said there was talk that Makhura was “ready to take the province forward”.

He added that Makhura was among the young generation – along with economic development MEC Lebogang Maile and former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau – who should be given the opportunity to take Gauteng forward.

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Read more on:    anc  |  david makhura  |  parks tau  |  lebogang maile  |  paul mashatile  |  state capture

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