EC snub to Gwede's political ambitions

GWEDE Mantashe’s so-called   presidential ambitions failed to take off in the Eastern Cape last weekend when  leaders in his Queenstown backyard  said they would not support  him in this regard.

Mantashe  convened a meeting with all ANC councillors in the region as well as branch secretaries and chairmen/women at the Cala indoor sports centre, on behalf of  the National Working Committee.

(NWC). The Daily Dispatch  learnt Mantashe told more than 300 ANC leaders at the meeting that the region was divided between those who supported President Jacob Zuma and those who did not.

At the centre of the discussion, was the disbanding of the Chris Hani regional executive earlier this year which  resulted in the disbanding of several ANC sub-regional structures as well as the recall of the entire Nkwanca council last month. ANC Lukhanji sub-regional deputy secretary, Luyanda Nogemane, who attended the meeting, said  Mantashe accused the region of campaigning against him.

Inxuba Yethemba’s Zolile “Blade” Masimini said Mantashe even claimed that “we carried placards to Calata House saying ‘Mantashe cannot be the president’.

“I don’t remember seeing anyone carrying such a placard.”

Nogemane  said  the meeting  focused  more on the ANC’s 2017 succession plans than anything else.

“What is clear is that Mantashe’s 2017 political ambitions are hitting a snag and now he wants to hijack Chris Hani and force us to support him whether we like it or not.

“We are not going to do that,” said Nogemane.

But Mantashe denied using the meeting  for his presidential ambitions, saying he had no such ambitions. “I have no campaign, and have started none. It’s them that are campaigning already.

“Even if I had a campaign, it would not be championed by (Chris Hani) because if a campaign is led by a faction, it will be discredited.

“Any campaign which is championed by a faction is discredited in the ANC. I don’t want it,” Mantashe said.

He confirmed yesterday that NEC members Zizi Kodwa and Fikile Xasa, as well as provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane had accompanied him to  the meeting that was part of several NWC held  across the country to review the outcomes of the May elections.

Another senior ANC leader who attended the meeting,   also criticised the National Executive Committee (NEC) for  criticising Gauteng’s performance in  the May elections, while not mentioning  provinces such as Free State, Limpopo and  North West who also performed poorly.

Masimini said they were shocked when Mantashe mentioned other provincial leaders by name, saying they were receiving preferential treatment as opposed to Gauteng’s Paul Mashatile.

Nogemane said it was clear that “they (NWC) were not here to address party matters. They want to use us as voting fodder for the 2017 conference,” said Nogemane.

Reacting to claims he instructed branches to toe the line or face the music, Mantashe said all he said was that “no ANC region has the authority to disband branches. The only thing the region does is recommend. I was taking them through the ANC constitution. I don’t know how they lead”. —  zineg@dispatch.co.za

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