South Africa

Mantashe denies Mangaung violence

By Greg Nicolson 14 December 2012

Speaking at The New Age business breakfast Thursday morning ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has refuted claims that the run-up to the party’s Mangaung elections have been marred by violence. By GREG NICOLSON for NEWSFIRE.

“It’s not getting worse, I can tell you,” Mantashe said ahead of the ANC’s election in Mangaung. He claimed that ANC leaders have reduced the level of political violence since their election in Polokwane. “Where is this violence?” asked Mantashe, suggesting media reports had been exaggerated.

The breakfast was held as reports were emerging of violence in the troubled North West overnight. “Last night a regional secretary, Obuti Chika, in the Kenneth Kaunda (Klerksdorp) region was shot and killed,” said Mantashe. He didn’t elaborate on the death of the North West ANC member nor did he touch on the recent suspension of North West provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge. Mataboge was suspended on Thursday after surviving a suspected assassination attempt last week and is a supporter of Kgalema Motlanthe for ANC president.

While praising the party for meeting its long-standing goal of achieving one million members, Mantashe said problems within the ANC come largely from the massive increase in membership. “When you open that window, fresh air comes in and mosquitoes come in,” he said, suggesting new members had joined for self-enrichment. “When you go to elections people will treat the ANC as a life and death issue… People see the opportunity, instead of seeing the ANC as an opportunity to serve,” said Mantashe.

Justice minister and ANC head of policy Jeff Radebe said the party would not allow such problems in Mangaung. “The ANC is in full control of its members and is running this country,” he said.

Both Radebe and Mantashe condemned ANC members who take the organisation to court. Factions in the North West and Free State are currently disputing the processes and decisions of their provincial nominations and the delegates who will be sent to Mangaung. By late Friday morning, the Constitution Court ruled that the Free State African National Congress elective conference was unlawful and its results invalid. Six Free State ANC members took the party to court to dispute the elective conference, claiming branch-level elections were fraught with illegal and irregular behaviour.

Even before the court gave its decision, Radebe had preoclaimed, “Those that take the ANC to court, they have expelled themselves.”

He suggested that there might be a campaign to discredit the ANC, “Of the 16 cases that go to court, one advocate goes to court,” said Radebe, likely referring to Advocate Dali Mpofu who is representing ANC members in Free State and North West and has previously represented expelled Youth League leader Julius Malema. “You have some association that sits in a corner with this one advocate searching for witnesses… It’s not spontaneous. It’s organized,” added Mantashe.

The New Age has held business breakfasts in conjunction with government throughout the year featuring interviews through the SABC and allowing guests to ask questions from the floor. Asked about the media, Radebe said newspapers have clearly taken an editorial stance on who they support in the ANC, and that the party supports “an organisation like The New Age” because it “reports fairly”. He was critical of South African media and asked to laughter “why let the facts ruin a good story”. DM

Photo by Greg Marinovich.


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