ANC National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe has described the recent “choreographed attack” on President Cyril Ramaphosa as counterrevolutionary.
Speaking during a virtual political lecture on organisational renewal on Thursday, Mantashe said the real aim of these attacks was to weaken the ANC.
In August, Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa wrote a letter to the party’s top 6 leaders asking for an investigation into Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign.
A few days later, former President Jacob Zuma wrote another scathing letter to Ramaphosa in response to the latter’s open letter to ANC members. Zuma slammed Ramaphosa’s letter as “fundamentally flawed” and a “public relations exercise.”
He particularly took issue with Ramaphosa’s comment that the ANC is “Accused No. 1” when it comes to corruption. The letter came on the same day as ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member reportedly asked Ramaphosa to “step aside” and clear his name over CR17 campaign funding allegations.
‘Easy to attack the President’
Mantashe said it was worrying that ANC leaders found it “easy to attack the President.” He explained, “I described it as a choreographed attack on the President, where you would find a person in Port Elizabeth writing an open letter attacking the President, somebody in northern KwaZulu-Natal writing a letter [and] another one from somewhere writing a letter, all of them attacking this President.
“And it appears to be a mass movement that is very unhappy with the President, [but] the reality of the matter is to weaken the pillars of the organisation, with the Presidency being one of those pillars. It appears revolutionary, but if you look into it closely, it is counterrevolutionary.”
An NEC meeting held shortly after the two letters went public expressed support for Ramaphosa and his letter, which had called on corruption-accused leaders to step aside.
“The NEC emphasised that what seems to be a choreographed campaign against the President will not distract the movement from undertaking an intensified programme against corruption and state capture, as mandated by the 54th National Conference,” it said.
‘Targeting ANC leaders’
Mantashe also spoke out against using the ANC’s “cleanup campaign” to target individual leaders, saying this would amount to “the revolution devouring its own children.”
“If you look at it closely, it has nothing to do with cleaning the organisation. It is a revolution that is beginning to devour its own children and it is an issue that we must look into,” he said.
In an interview with Newzroom Afrika in July, ANC Secretary-General also said asking corruption-accused leaders to “step aside” is a ploy to “finish the ANC.”
He said, “That is how the enemy is planning to finish the ANC. Some of us will never accept such a simple understanding because a member of the ANC is entitled to be treated like a citizen. Fairness, the rule of law [and] the law of natural justice is what you and I expect.
“You just come tomorrow and say, ‘Magashule was involved in this,’ and therefore I must step aside. I will never do that. I will never. I must be treated like all South Africans.”