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Gwede Mantashe to Mabuza: We Are Not 'Toy Telephones'

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has slammed Mpumalanga premier and ANC chairman David Mabuza for labelling him and other ANC leaders i...

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has slammed Mpumalanga premier and ANC chairman David Mabuza for labelling him and other ANC leaders ill-disciplined for openly criticising President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle, which they say they were not consulted about.

"We are not asking for favours here. We are asking people to do what is right so that when you do things the organisation goes with you, otherwise there will be no ANC that contests elections and gives [power] over to an individual called a president or a premier. There is no such thing," Mantashe told News24.
Gwede Mantashe

Mabuza said on Sunday, in Bushbuckridge, that the ANC officials calling Zuma out must remember that they are not the president and that the president has the right to choose his Cabinet. Mantashe hit back at Mabuza, saying he was "mischievous" and did not know the policies of the ANC.

He said the 52nd ANC national conference held in Polokwane had resolved that while presidents, premiers and mayors had the constitutional prerogative to choose their executive, they will do so after consulting the ANC.

Mantashe said he would not allow for the ANC to be "shaped in the image of DD Mabuza", who believes consultations are not necessary, as that would render the rest of the ANC top six unnecessary.

"What I don't agree with is that people must call us names, because we have taken a stance, and make us toy telephones. We don't need to be consulted, therefore there is no need to elect the six officials," Mantashe said. If that were to be the case, only one individual would run the organisation, he said.

In an unprecedented move, Mantashe, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize have criticised Zuma's removal of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas on Thursday night.

Zuma also fired four other ministers and appointed seven new deputy ministers. Ramaphosa called Zuma's decision "totally unacceptable", while Mkhize said the briefing by Zuma on the changes left an impression that "the party was no longer at the centre".

The reshuffle is expected to be discussed at the party's national working committee (NWC) today. The committee is made up of the top six, one representative each from the party's leagues and other members elected to the body from the national executive committee.

It is expected to be a heated meeting, as divisions over the reshuffle deepen amidst threats of ANC members voting with the opposition in a proposed motion of no confidence against Zuma and public protests.

Mantashe acknowledged that the environment was toxic. "Yes, people have asked for an NWC so I am sure they want to get together and manage the environment, because the environment is quite toxic, I agree with that," Mantashe said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane and other opposition leaders have said that ANC leaders have called them to say they will support the motion. Speaker Baleka Mbete cut short her overseas trip yesterday to start consultations over the motion. - Daily Sun

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