ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has been blasted for being responsible for the birth of two political rivals, damaging Cosatu and of lacking objectivity and credibility to run the December leadership conference. In a heated attack on Mantashe, Lindiwe Sisulu, who is relentlessly pursuing the ANC presidency, also reportedly accused him of infringing on the rights of ANC members.
The daughter of ANC icons, the late Walter and Albertina Sisulu, also questioned his role in the liberation struggle. An Eastern Cape newspaper reported Sisulu as saying: “The question is: where was he (Mantashe) when we were fighting for this freedom in exile and in jail, which he today is abusing for his personal interest? He must hand over an ANC that is intact.
“Under him as an SG we gave birth to Cope (Congress of the People) and EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) and (he) fractured Cosatu – something we never imagined.”
Speaking at the commemoration of Xhosa King Sarhili near Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape at the weekend, Sisulu was responding to what has been perceived as Mantashe’s support for Cyril Ramaphosa.
Last week Mantashe called for a managed transition in the party’s presidency, saying ANC deputy president Ramaphosa should succeed Jacob Zuma as party president. He also said a woman should be elected as Ramaphosa’s deputy so that she could eventually succeed him. According to reports from Sisulu’s Eastern Cape meeting, she reportedly said women had the necessary credentials to lead the party.
Women “saved the ANC” when its leaders were underground, she said. Sisulu reportedly accused Mantashe of wanting Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to be Ramaphosa’s deputy to avoid a crisis in the party.
“This merely shows his knowledge about the ANC. He imagines things. Since when are branches taking their tune from the SG? What kind of an SG is this? We have never had an SG who infringes on people’s rights. He thinks we are picking a Bafana Bafana squad here,” she said.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa could not be reached for comment yesterday. However Cope national chairperson Pakes Dikgepsi said: “Things we warned against are now a reality. “Let them fight. We have a movement. We are ready for the future. The ANC is the past.”