'There is a crisis in the ANC' - Mthembu

2017-04-02 16:39
Jackson Mthembu. (Picture: Muntu Vilakazi)

Jackson Mthembu. (Picture: Muntu Vilakazi)

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Cape Town – The ANC is facing a crisis, but it will be able to deal with it, MP Jackson Mthembu said on Sunday.

"I call it a crisis, others might call it something else," said Mthembu, at a media briefing at the end of a torrid week for the party.

Early on Friday morning, President Jacob Zuma announced a major Cabinet reshuffle, which saw the controversial removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

Mthembu was among the first high-ranking ANC members to speak out.

"I disagree with the removal of Gordhan and Jonas based on a suspect intelligence report. Their commitment to the NDR is unquestionable," Mthembu tweeted.

"Pravin and Jonas will never sell their soul and country to foreign forces. That is plain rubbish. Their crime is their incorruptibility," he continued, in a reference to a purported claim that the two would be drumming up support for banks to gang up on Zuma while on an international trip to woo investors.

Gordhan was called back from London with no explanation, and was then among those fired.

No 'gagging'

Since then, ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken out saying he did not accept the allegation against Gordhan, and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the list was compiled outside of the usual ANC structures that make these decisions.

The party's treasurer general Zweli Mkhize also sent out a strongly-worded statement on the reshuffle.

"Unlike previous consultations which take place with senior officials of the ANC during such appointments and changes to the composition of the national executive, the briefing by the President left a distinct impression that the ANC is no longer the centre and thus depriving the leadership collective of its responsibly to advise politically on executive matters," Mkhize said.

Mthembu cautioned ANC members to be careful about what they say on social media. Although there would be no "gagging", they should stick to party values and principles.

He said the party's National Working Committee would meet on Monday and the NEC would probably meet at a later date. He would make his input there, if invited.

"We have a leadership. And we are quite confident and convinced that the leadership of the African National Congress will be able to deal with what confront us.

"The crisis that confronts us today, the leadership of the ANC will be able to deal decisively with this crisis."

Twitter Q&A

Mthembu was due to hold a Q&A on Twitter on the party's discussion document on media and communications at 12:30 on Sunday.

The document suggests that Parliament hold a commission of inquiry into the media, and that the SABC is urgently put back on its feet again.

It also sets December 31, 2018 as the absolute deadline for the completion of the digital migration project so that government and the population can benefit from digitisation.

A former spokesperson, Mthembu heads the National Executive Committee's national working group on communications.

He is also chief whip of the ANC in Parliament, and made the comments in a press conference on the party's Communications and Battle of Ideas Discussion Document prepared for its next policy conference.

Read more on:    anc  |  jackson mthembu  |  johannesburg  |  cabinet reshuffle

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