Stalwarts, ANCWL could weaken the party - Mantashe

Johannesburg – African National Congress general secretary Gwede Mantashe has warned party stalwarts and the ANC Women’s League that they risk deepening divisions in the organisation.

The veterans’ intention of creating provincial chapters of stalwarts could further weaken the organisation as it would create a parallel process, Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“Parallelism weakens organisations and we must work consciously to ensure we don’t get into parallelism. We will deepen the challenges facing the organisation.”

The veterans wanted their proposed consultative conference to be separate from the party’s policy conference in June. They said they would hold talks with provinces to discuss the ANC’s problems.

The stalwarts were expected to meet ANC leaders on Monday.

READ: ANC stalwarts focus on principles rather than 'leadership auditions'

Endorsements

The ANCWL had faced censure for publicly endorsing outgoing African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader at the party’s elective conference in December.

The ANC said this was divisive and defied the national executive committee, which had yet to open the nomination process. The league, which is part of the NEC, had defended its decision.

Mantashe ruled out a meeting with the league.

“There will be people attracted to thrive in chaos and divisions. We must ensure that those people must be pushed to the periphery and play by the rules of the organisation, otherwise we will cease to be an organisation.”

He defended the party’s elective process, despite it being riddled with vote-buying, gatekeeping and slates. It gave branches power to influence outcomes.

He dismissed the US electoral process, in which parties’ presidential candidates openly contested against one another before one was nominated.

“A billionaire can easily become president, and we regret thereafter, and see marches in the street against the president elect,” Mantashe said, referring to Donald Trump.

He said the one way to clean up the process was to have members who fought against vote-buying ahead of the elective conference.

“Don’t sell your soul for bread.”

There were no holy individuals in the party, he said.