Gwede Mantashe (Picture: AFP)
Johannesburg - The ANC's head of elections Nomvula Mokonyane was under pressure when she announced that provincial leader Marius Fransman was back in his job when he was not, party secretary general Gwede Mantashe told News24 on Monday morning.
Mantashe said ANC structures had been "ill-disciplined" to tell the media that Fransman was back as Western Cape leader.
"Marius was asked to step aside after [a] national working committee [meeting], so now the integrity commission has completed its work, it has recommended the case be given to the disciplinary committee. He hasn't appeared before the committee yet. Until then, he can't return to his position," Mantashe told News24.
However, on Thursday last week, Mokonyane told News24 that Fransman was back as provincial leader. "He is here, he is working. He is back as the party leader. Nothing has changed," she said.
READ: Marius Fransman reinstated as ANC Western Cape leader
Mantashe said on Monday: "Nomvula was ahead of herself. In an organisation, decisions are taken formally. You don't take a decision like a lone wolf. She was pressured because she is in a rally and Fransman arrived and now she must save face."
Fransman himself said in a statement on Saturday that he was now assuming his "duties and responsibilities again".
"I have never ceased to be the Western Cape ANC leader since my election to the office. I have voluntarily stepped aside to allow the integrity commission to conclude its work without interference, and am now assuming my duties and responsibilities again at the conclusion of that process. My prolonged absence was only the result of a poorly managed internal process," Fransman said.
'Zuma cannot endorse Fransman'
For the first time since he was asked to step aside, Fransman was seen at the side of ANC president Jacob Zuma on Thursday, campaigning in the ANC's election areas of Philippi, Khayelitsha and Delft, City Press reported. This was seen as an endorsement of Fransman by Zuma.
Mantashe said Zuma "cannot endorse Fransman".
"There is no decision to reinstate him to the position," the ANC secretary general said.
Mantashe said Fransman had to be disciplined. He reiterated that no decision could be made until Fransman appeared in the relevant party structures.
Meanwhile, Fransman said he refused to be side-tracked by individuals and groups bent on preventing him from helping the ANC return to lead as many municipalities as possible.
Fransman blamed the media, opposition parties and others within the ANC for tarnishing his reputation.
"My refusal to be digressed permits only a brief reference to the many sanctimonious snipes by ballyhoo media hounds; frightened opponents from within the ANC, and the opposition DA and EFF; and Pharisaical political personas attempting to hide in the shadows by directing the stage lights on me... It is indeed deplorable that a reputation can be subverted by unsubstantiated claims, even in the face of indisputable evidence against such claims.
"Be advised that I will indeed return to meet my detractors head-on with irrefutable facts, not yet released in deference to procedure, even compromised, and now belatedly concluded."
'We do not hate him'
Mantashe however denied that Fransman was being targeted within party structures. He said no one within the ANC hated Fransman, but like all members, "he had to follow relevant structures".
"We do not hate him. There is no reason to hate him. He must be disciplined and loyal. We have no control over the disciplinary structures. The disciplinary committee will move as swiftly as possible. Organisations take decision structurally, they don’t just jump and take decisions," Mantashe said.
Fransman has been accused of sexually harassing 21-year-old Louisa Wynand while they were travelling to the party's January 8 celebrations in Rustenburg.
The sexual harassment case against Fransman was sent to the Northern Cape's Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), after the DPP in North West decided not to proceed with the case, due to insufficient evidence.
The Northern Cape DPP had some queries, and had sent the docket back to the investigating officer.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said on Thursday that they had not yet received the docket back from the investigating officer.
- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.