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Mantashe: ANC can’t afford to become a rural party

Gwede Mantashe warned that if the party loses the Gauteng province in the next general elections in 2019, this is what it would become.

Gwede Mantashe makes his last press briefing as the party's secretary general at #ANC54 on 18 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gwede Mantashe says the party cannot afford to become a rural party.

Before he was named national chairperson of the party on Monday night, he warned that if the party lost Gauteng province in the next general elections in 2019, this is what it would become.

The ANC lost the Tshwane and Johannesburg metros in Gauteng in last year's government elections and Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape.

Mantashe was addressing journalists at Nasrec earlier on Monday.

Speaking at his final media briefing as secretary general, Mantashe joked that within a few hours, he could be unemployed.

But Mantashe spoke seriously about the need for the new leadership to hit the ground running when it came to the 2019 national and provincial elections, about 18 months away.

“We’re working to regain lost ground, we don’t want to be relegated to a rural party. We want to regain the metros.”

Mantashe also denied suggestions of a breakdown in his relationship with President Jacob Zuma, instead praising him for his deep understanding of the ANC.

WATCH: Gwede Mantashe's last press conference as ANC SG

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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