Niehaus: Mantashe conflicted after Ramaphosa slate announcement

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s campaign says that Cyril Ramaphosa has put Gwede Mantashe in a difficult and untenable position.

FILE: ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s campaigners have told Eyewitness News that Gwede Mantashe is conflicted in his position as secretary-general now that he was named on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate.

Earlier this week, Ramaphosa announced what he described as a winning team which had the name of Mantashe as a possible candidate for chairperson of the party on his slate.

The ANC has since criticised Ramaphosa for this announcement, saying that the action is unacceptable.

Dlamini Zuma’s campaign says that Ramaphosa has put Mantashe in a difficult and untenable position.

One of her campaigners, Carl Niehaus, has questioned whether Mantashe will be able to be neutral when presiding over the nomination process.

“He’s conflicted and biased because he’s been so clearly pronounced to be on the slate of the deputy president.”

Eyewitness News understands that some national executive committee members sympathetic with the president will use this weekend’s NEC meeting to push for Ramaphosa to be disciplined over the announcement of his slate.

Meanwhile, ANC stalwarts say while President Jacob Zuma may be deployed by the party to attend their consultative conference next week, they will see what happens if that’s the case.

The stalwarts have previously called on the president to step down, saying that he has contributed immensely to the deterioration of the party.

When the ANC stalwarts called on the president to step down, they mentioned Nkandla, the State of Capture report and his previous Cabinet reshuffles as some of the reasons behind their call.

Now, the question is whether they are willing to allow the same man they say they have no confidence in to be at their gathering.

The president has more than once hit out at the stalwarts for demanding the consultative conference on their terms, saying they are not superior than any ANC structure.

CONFERENCE-READY

At the same time, the stalwarts say they are ready for the conference, adding that they hope their gathering will save the party.

They say the gathering will be attended by civil society, business, labour, ANC branches and they have invited the party's leaders.

Stalwart Wally Serote said they expect 500 people to attend the conference.

“Saving the ANC as an organisation that serves the people of this country is a very key thing. But in order for us to that, we need to define the problem.”

He said even the ANC NEC which denied them the opportunity to hold this conference before the policy gathering in June this year, has been invited.

The ANC will have a special NEC meeting this weekend where the party may decide whether or not to send a delegation to the gathering.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)