Mantashe warns against growing ‘bad tendency’ of party leaders 'writing ANC’s obituary in public'

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Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe.
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe.
  • ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has cautioned party leaders from publicly criticising the party, saying such actions filtered down to the membership, leading to deep divisions.
  • Mantashe also cautioned there was a growing culture of people believing that the province was better off without the ANC in the Free State.
  • Mantashe said praise should go to the provincial education department for attaining the best matric results despite the province’s governance capabilities being nonexistent.  

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe has warned against a growing culture of party leaders going out in public and writing the organisation’s obituary whenever they are aggrieved or dislike certain things within the ANC.

Mantashe was giving the opening address at the ANC’s 9th Free State elective conference currently underway in Bloemfontein.

He said: “What is a bad tendency growing in the ANC is this ability of a leader of the ANC like myself taking a public platform and insulting the ANC and almost writing an obituary of the ANC, saying come 2024 we are finished as a party.  

“How can we be finished when all of us [ANC members] are still around? The ANC cannot be finished by 2024 if we are still this many and still believe in the organisation,” said Mantashe.

He added that the growing culture was that when leaders were aggrieved, they no longer sought to engage each other until they found solutions but rather ran away to seek greener pastures in other parties.

"We [ANC members] fear Mickey-Mouse parties that are small instead of focusing on renewing our own organisation,” said Mantashe.

He urged delegates at the packed Imvelo Safari Lodge, where the ANC in the Free State is hosting its conference, to use the two days to seek to agree on organisational matters and not further divide the already factional province.

He cautioned that there were those in the province who benefited from a weakened and divided ANC to the point where they were actively trying to make sure that the conference did not get underway.

READ | ANC Free State conference sees 6 people arrested after clashes with law enforcement

Mantashe was referring to the severe delays that marred the start of the conference, which was meant to get underway on Friday but started a day later.

This was due to disgruntled party members alleging that delegates chosen at branch level were since replaced by those overseeing the hosting of the province’s conference.

The aggrieved parties then went on a rampage, disrupting the registration process.

Mantashe came down hard on the provincial leaders and the party’s Free State structures.

He said: “I arrived here yesterday [Friday] at 10:00 and I was eating breakfast and ready to give the opening address and the process was delayed physically by some trying to disrupt proceedings," said Mantashe.

What suits you people of the Free State are prayers because you really need them.

He added that the disruptions and actions of the members on the ground that resulted in six people being arrested and numerous people being injured were reflective of poor leadership.

“When I was coming here, I identified an inherent risk, which is now a culture here in this province, that of people who believe that it is better when there is no ANC in the province.

"Any attempt to rebuild the ANC is challenged either in the courts or through disrupting ANC events by such people and we must guard against comrades who are hellbent on making sure that there are leaders who want to ensure that at all costs that there is no ANC in this province,” said Mantashe.

Despite the scathing attack, Mantashe praised the province for again receiving the best matric results.

ALSO READ | Ramaphosa congratulates Class of 2022 on 'outstanding' performances

He said the fact that the province continued to receive such a result despite not having fit and proper provincial and regional structures was a demonstration of what the party could be able to achieve should it get its act together.

Mantashe said the newly elected provincial executive (PEC) should focus on three key areas when they emerge from this elective conference.

“The PEC must urgently revisit the municipality demarcation and ensure that it makes sense and is not only just a task-ticking exercise as was currently the case.

"Number two, we must address the issue that in the Free State, there is no municipality that has a clean audit. It's this province and the North West that have zero clean audits,” said Mantashe.

He added that the province should “access the capacity of the province fiscus and address the leakage of the state resources”.

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