Without naming names, Mantashe sharply criticises Ramaphosa for slate
The ANC has criticised Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for unveiling his "slate" ahead of the party’s December conference.
Ramaphosa’s move to name his preferred leadership team was quite unorthodox as the organisation prefers its elective contests to be kept out of public scrutiny.
Ramaphosa publicly pronounced that national executive committee member Naledi Pandor was his preferred candidate to deputise him.
Speaking at a rally in Limpopo he also said Senzo Mchunu, Gwede Mantashe, Paul Mashatile were his preferred candidates for secretary general, chairperson and treasurer-general, respectively.
While a statement from Mantashe’s office on Monday did not name Ramaphosa, it was clearly directed at him as he was the only presidential contender to publicly list his slate.
"Such pronouncements are unacceptable whether comrades have a preference or not and seek to usurp the entrenched right of the branches to nominate candidates of their choosing," Mantashe said in the statement issued by Luthuli House on Monday.
"The 2015 national general council resolved to outlaw slates and reaffirm the role of the branch as the basic unit of the ANC. Accordingly, in implementing this resolution, the NEC [National Executive Committee] directed that we ensure branch nominations are not tempered with and that the will of the branches is reflected and respected."
Mantashe further called on its leaders and members to stop pronouncing on, and circulating, slates that would undermine the choice of branches at the December conference.
Ramaphosa responded to the matter in his own statement on Monday, saying he welcomed "all views including those that have raised concerns about my approach on the matter".
"I see these views in a positive light as a process of enriching and deepening our internal democratic processes and promotion of unity in the ANC. The names I mentioned for leadership positions arose from interactions and nominations emerging from ANC structures and should be understood in that context," he said.
"This, however, does not detract from the importance of, at all times, reaffirming the centrality of the role of branch members as the electoral college for all elective positions in the ANC."
He said his views were not "prescriptive" and did not "displace the right of branches to nominate" their preferred candidates.
"My views form part of the ongoing discourse by members of the organisation in the quest to select the best leadership to take our movement and country forward," Ramaphosa said. "The overriding objective in all these processes must be the unity of our movement. The unity that we should forge must be practical and be based on the principles of uniting our movement and our people as a whole."
He said ultimately branches of the ANC should determine who was best to lead the party.