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2024 ELECTIONS

ANC gags NEC members as MK party rages over Mantashe ‘tribalism’ comment

ANC gags NEC members as MK party rages over Mantashe ‘tribalism’ comment
Gwede Mantashe at the IEC Results Operation Centre in Midrand on 30 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

While the Electoral Commission of South Africa continues to count ballots, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula turns the screw on ANC National Executive Committee members following National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe’s remarks at the National Results Operation Centre.

The ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula has issued strict instructions to ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) members about visiting the National Results Operation Centre (ROC) at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand- without authorisation.

In a letter to NEC members, dated 30 May, Mbalula states that there are members who have been deployed to the ROC and anyone else who has not been requested to be there, should stay away from the centre.

“We urge NEC Members to refrain from visiting the ROC in an uncoordinated manner and commenting on the 2024 National and Provincial Election results [NPE],” the letter reads.

Members of the ANC’s top brass who have been deployed to the ROC are the party’s First Deputy Secretary-General Nomvula Mokonyane, ANC head of elections Mdumiseni Ntuli, NEC member Nkenke Kekana and national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri.

Mantashe’s name is not on the list.

“The ANC will issue a formal communication regarding the 2024 NPE once more than half the results (approximately 10 million votes) have been announced. This statement will be guided by the ANC National Officials based on a report by the National Elections Team.

“The NEC will receive a report on the 2024 NPE and its outcomes. The date of the next NEC meeting will be communicated,” Mbalula further stated.

This follows comments made by the party’s National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe at the ROC on Thursday.

Mantashe said he was surprised by former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK party) party showing at the polls. The MK party has been dominating the KZN leaderboard and appears to have surpassed the EFF as the third-largest party.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections Dashboard

“I don’t think we should lock ourselves into Zulu tribalism. Tribalism is a backward form of politics, it has its timeframe and then disappears. If that is the factor, I am not worried,” according to Mantashe.

The MK party then condemned Mantashe for his utterances along with DA Federal Council chair Helen Zille who said that the MK party is “eating away” votes from all parties because people are voting on what she called “ethnic identity”.

“The MK party unequivocally denounces the obnoxious and toxic remarks by Gwede Mantashe of the ANC, supported by Helen Zille of the DA, which characterises the electoral success of the MK party in KZN as a product of ‘Zulu tribalism’.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: It’s now time for South Africa to take Zuma’s MK party seriously

“The deeply disrespectful and insulting perspective not only undermines the political agency of the Zulu people but also dismisses their legitimate political choices as mere tribal affiliations. Such divisive rhetoric portrays the Zulu people as non-thinking and sheep-like, following an outdated narrative that is both dangerous and offensive,” the party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said in a statement.

He further went on to mention that KZN citizens were punishing the ANC for mismanaging the country.

“The intellectual laziness from both the ANC of Ramaphosa and its incoming coalition partner, the DA, enrages the MK party … as it threatened the building of a united, non-sexist and prosperous SA, the MK party strives to build,” he said. DM

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