Mantashe: Unity of the movement is very important

Gwede Mantashe was addressing the ANC’s 106th anniversary celebration rally in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

ANC members call for Jacob Zuma to step down on 5 February in Johannesburg. Picture: Ihsaan Haffajee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – With speculation mounting that president Jacob Zuma is likely to vacate his office in the coming days African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Gwede Mantashe has called on party members to unite and rally behind the new leadership.

Mantashe was addressing the ANC’s 106th anniversary celebration rally in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

He says ANC leader, Cyril Ramaphosa will make the announcement about Zuma’s exit at the right time because the party’s leadership is working hard to manage a very complex situation.

Mantashe says they are guided by the principle of unity in the party by ensuring that the leadership transition is managed carefully and precisely.

“Unity of the movement is very important. It’s not a function of talking about it, it’s a function of unity of purpose and commitment to execute the programme of our movement. It’s a function of comrades reaching out to one another.”

WAIT AND SEE GAME

It’s still a wait and see game on the outcome of transition talks between Zuma and Ramaphosa.

While opposition parties and ANC alliance members have asked for a swift decision, senior ANC members are trying to placate South Africans pleading for patience.

The ANC’s senior membership was on a mission in Cape Town on Saturday to seemingly gauge residents’ views on the current political drama.

During a walk-about in Khayelitsha by minister Edna Molewa and other ANC officials, residents made their voices heard.

“We want Ramaphosa not Zuma because Zuma always promises us things but he doesn’t deliver. He’s going to create lots of jobs.”

Molewa, however, would not be drawn into discussion around the outcome of transitions talks but rather pleaded for patience.

“South Africans please be calm, wait for the leadership to have a discuss and complete the process.”

The ANC leadership are all expected to be part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations taking place in the Mother City today.

Meanwhile, Mantashe accused the media and political analysts of fuelling speculation around Zuma's future.

Mantashe's comments come as the country spends another weekend watching developments from an ANC meeting that is expected to discuss Zuma’s exit.

He repeated calls for patience and encouraged Ramaphosa to listen only to structures of the ANC.

“Listen to the structures, report back to them, explain the processes and take decisions. Only that should be the basis for patience. But where we want to be… there is not disagreement.”