Defend Truth


Mantashe sends a warning to ANC’s tenderpreneurs (read: Malema), treads gently on Cosatu

Mantashe sends a warning to ANC’s tenderpreneurs (read: Malema), treads gently on Cosatu

Gwede Mantashe is the man we’ve always seen as being between a rock and a very hard place. And yet sometimes being the fall guy for the Alliance can also really help you out. Because while sometimes you are everyone’s enemy, at other times you’re able to call on a wide range of allies. These could be some of those times.

Mantashe delivered the Violet Seboni Memorial Lecture on Friday. Seboni was Cosatu’s deputy president when she died in a car crash during last year’s election campaign. But Mantashe may not be entirely innocent when he used this lecture to hit out at (who else) Julius Malema. He spoke about how the values we must promote are those of “modesty and hard work”. But here’s the killer: “Life is not about being in business.” Take that, young Julius. The beauty of this technique is that Mantashe is engaging in what the Australians call dog-whistling. You hear what you want to hear. For many, including the Young Lions, this will be a speech about how the youth should be moulded. For the cynics, and that does include us, it’s a clear message to those ANC members who put business above doing good.

So if you’re Siphiwe Nyanda, this would have hurt. And there are plenty of others who will feel the acute sting of this speech.

One of the slightly odder moments of Mantashe’s speech was the long quotation of Thabo Mbeki. The two are not the best of friends. But Mantashe used a quote from Mbeki’s 2006 Nelson Mandela Lecture to explain how the ANC had taken over a system where whites were basically involved in “monetary accrual” above all else. Then that system corrupted the revolution, to the point where accrual of “bling” is now the dominant aim in society.

He also had plenty to say about the Alliance; about how bickering will only please its enemies; about how unity is the paramount thing. But he gave Cosatu plenty of space too; he was its turf, after all. Unions must make sure “that they nudge the ruling party to the left if it moves rightward”, because “if they don’t, no one else will do it”. Zwelinzima Vavi looked happy at that one.

Then the worrying stuff: it started easily enough, with a dig at the right wing “growing more confident; it’s becoming willing to take chances”, but he then moved on to “it’s using a quasi-transformed judiciary” to its own ends. And he spoke about “the allocation of judges to hear racially sensitive cases”. Oh dear, Gwede, please, not the counter-revolutionary judges thing again. Anyway, he didn’t give details, but this is obviously about the two judgments against the “shoot the boer” song. The two judges were white. And yes, as we’ve said before, we wouldn’t have picked them to hear these cases either, because it’s just a bad idea. But still, we get worried when the secretary-general of the ruling party starts to speak at all about the allocation of judges.

But the overall message from this lecture, is that while for just about all of this year it’s seemed as if the corrupt business people were winning the battle for the soul of the ANC, the fight-back is now under way in earnest. Mantashe has decided which side he’s on. And we’re very pleased with that.

By Stephen Grootes

(Grootes is an Eyewitness News reporter)

Photo: Reuters


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options