RESPONSE TO GWEDE MANTASHE
20 July 2012
The Secretary General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe is quoted on Friday, 20 July 2012 Sowetan as having said that what Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela is doing is dangerous for the organisation. He said “She has taken a decision to go against the ANC national executive committee's (position) on Julius. She has decided to oppose the decision”. This he said in reference to the fact that Mama Winnie Mandela and her family partook on charitable activities in honour of President Nelson Mandela’s 94th Birthday alongside the leadership of the ANC Youth League, which the faction that Gwede Mantashe belongs to has suspended/expelled from the ANC.
Gwede Mantashe went as far as suggesting that the Veteran of our struggle and renowned Freedom Fighter, Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela is ill-disciplined for appreciating our efforts and decisive political programme for economic freedom on our lifetime. It was and is within Mama Madikizela Mandela’s right to appreciate the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime and for saying, “Thank you very much for leading that campaign because it is as a result of your emphasis, the youth league's emphasis on the role we should be playing as freedom fighters”.
We are certain that Gwede Mantashe is aware that his conduct and utterances about Mama are out-rightly out of order and childish. It is within Mama Winnie Mandela’s right to associate with leadership of the youth in South Africa and it is within her right to endorse and appreciate the struggle for economic freedom as led by this generation of youth leaders. Mama Winnie Mandela is not the first and will never be the last of ANC leaders and members who will openly associate and publicly endorse what the leadership Gwede Mantashe’s faction suspended/expelled from the ANC. On various occasions and in various regions of the ANC, thousands of genuine members and leaders of the ANC have openly associated, engaged and exchanged notes with the leadership of the ANC Youth League, which Gwede and company have suspended because of his insecurity.
We are not shocked that it is Gwede Mantashe who speaks about Veterans of the ANC in the media like he did because we have always said that he does not know and he does not understand the ANC. Gwede Mantashe never grew in the ANC, was never in the underground movement, was never involved in any operation against the apartheid regime, was never arrested and never went to exile like all Freedom Fighters his age did. It took us only 6 months from the ANC 52nd National Conference to notice that Gwede Mantashe does not know and does not understand the ANC. That is the main reason why we called for his replacement from leadership of the ANC as early as 2008 because we knew he is a disaster waiting to happen.
As National Organiser of the ANC, Cde Fikile Mbalula had to strategically and programmatically lead the elections campaign in 2009 because there was absence of leadership from Gwede Mantashe. In the 2011 Local Government Elections, Mantashe tried to lead the election campaign and caused disaster with selection of candidates and poor management of elections processes leading to the decline of votes for the ANC in those elections. The ANC is more divided and more organisationally mixed up with parallel structures and conferences because of Gwede Mantashe whose only knowledge is to insult and undermine Veterans of the ANC.
This culture of undermining Veterans of the ANC seems to be the new style of leadership in the ANC, because since the National Policy Conference where President Jacob Zuma chided Veterans in his opening remarks, there is now a sudden excitement to undermine Veterans of the ANC. The Spokesperson of the ANC, who is a self-confessed alcoholic, recently questioned the sanity of the ANC Veterans League for raising genuine issue of self-enrichment by some amongst the leaders of the ANC at the expense of service delivery. What kind of a Movement is this that disregards, chides, and undermines the youth and the Veterans?
We call on all ANC members to now begin to acknowledge that the some of the leaders elected in the 52nd National Conference, particularly Gwede Mantashe and Jacob Zuma were a huge blunder to the ANC and South Africa as a whole. The ANC should sooner rescue itself from these factionalists who time and again use official structures of the ANC to legitimise their factional decisions aimed at securing them re-election in the 53rd National Conference.
Gwede Mantashe and company should get used to the reality that as activists of the ANC and as Economic Freedom Fighters we will continue to engage and associate with all people in society and in all corners of South Africa and the world. The fact that renowned leaders of the ANC and an absolute majority of ANC members are not ashamed to associate with us is a confirmation that the faction’s decision to isolate us from the ANC does not enjoy legitimacy on the ground.
Gwede Mantashe is the one who is dangerous to the ANC, not Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela, and he should ask those who undermined Mama Winnie Mandela is public and tried to reduce her to a non-entity—where are they today? People who staff-ride the ANC should always be cautious on what they say about Veterans of the ANC, because they will fall very hard.
ISSUED BY CDE JULIUS MALEMA—ANC Youth League President