Sunday, March 16, 2014

ANC Statement in Response to Distortions Published in the Mail and Guardian of South Africa

Author : Jackson Mthembu

ANC statement on M&G article "Mantashe questions minorities on ANC List"

13 March 2014

The African National Congress has noted with grave concern the unfounded and malicious online article by the Mail & Guardian yesterday headlined "Mantashe questions minorities on ANC list". The story seeks to insinuate that the Secretary-General of the ANC has no confidence in the ANC Candidate Lists nor in certain comrades who have been nominated through this country`s only internally democratic and robust process of all political parties contesting the 2014 General Elections.

Had the Mail & Guardian sought to correctly report on the Secretary-General`s comments during the Pre-Election Debate held at Regenesys Business School on the 11th March 2014, they would have reported that the Secretary-General of the African National Congress spoke about the good story that is the inroads that the African National Congress has been making steadily within the so-called minority areas. They would have reported that the Secretary-General`s starting point was to differ with the notion of the term "minority communities" being attached to Coloured and Indian people in our country, making the fundamental point that these communities are and have always been and remain an inextricable part, together with Africans, of the oppressed black majority in South Africa.

The Secretary-General further made the point that all comrades who form part of the ANC Candidate List do so on the basis of the confidence that members of the ANC have shown in them. This is as a result of the activism and visibiity in their communities and constitutencies dealing with the challenges facing our people on a daily basis. Thus no one should ever construe the emergence of Coloured and Indian communities on the ANC list as the meeting of quotas; the ANC`s entrenched principles of democracy themselves would be resistant to such an approach. Every comrade who is to form part of our sevant corp of public representatives to move South Africa forward must have proven themselves as organisers and leaders in their areas of endeavour. No one is rewarded with being on the list if they don`t do work in their communities but seek favour because they are meant to form part of a "minority community"

The statement that Comrade Gwede Mantashe said "Some of the ANC`s National Assembly nominees did not deserve to be on the list" is not true and based on amateur journalism by the Mail & Guardian that we have consistenly complained of but the paper ontinues to offer the nation. The ANC`s list process is a democratic one, and involves members and branches of the ANC electing their preferred candidates. The candidates on our list have been carefully vetted, and every nominee had a right to accept or decline the nomination. The candidates on the ANC`s list be it to Parliament or the Provincial Legislatures are the peoples candidates.

The African National Congress awaits a retraction of the story by the Mail and Guardian and reserves its right to further challenge this infactual, inaccurate and malicious reporting. We are convinced that this story is not only mischievious but intentionally politically motivated and designed to isolate the African National Congress from sections of our society at this time. The response from the Secretary-General to this matter follows in a separate email.

Issued by:
Jackson Mthembu
National Spokesperson
African National Congress

Keith Khoza - 082 823 9672
Khuseka Sangoni - 072 854 5707

Author : Gwede Mantashe

Response to the distortions by Mail & Guardian

13 March 2012

I led a team of the African National Congress to a Pre-Election Debate at Regenesys Business School on the 12th March 2014. In the course of discussions a question was raised as to why is the ANC losing support among white, Indian and coloured communities. The question was whether the ANC has enough minorities in its list of candidates. Because the same person who asked the question did not like the answer perhaps, silently the answer that was given is distorted publicly. It our duty to correct such a distortion as it not only unfortunate but malicious and devoid of truth.

It was clarified that the ANC not losing any support among coloured communities in general. If that was the case we could not have secured the majority in the Northern Cape, in the rural Western Cape where the ANC is doing relatively well, and in the Western part of the Eastern Cape. In those areas coloured people constitute a majority and are running structures of the ANC. There may be truth that we have lost a lot of ground in metropolitan areas.

It was further explained that where we are losing ground there are very weak structures of the ANC. Even comrades who appear on the lists form these areas do very little organisational work in these areas. Hence the trend is that it is the old activists who remain in the structures and sometimes do gate-keeping. This is evidenced by little or no emergence of young activists in many of these metropolitan areas. The appeal that was made in good faith was that we must build strong structures of the ANC in the so-called minority areas. It was further explained that the concept of minority is actually self deprivation because communities that were part of the majority when we struggled for freedom cannot be relegated into a minority now. It is actually a terrible choice.

We must emphasise as a matter of fact that where structures are weak the support of the party will reflect that. It is serious that strong structures must be built in all communities. If diagnosing failure to build structures as the basis of the weak performance in these areas is equal to laziness; I will plead guilty as charged. But if we are serious about our organisation we will invest time and energy in build strong structures in every suburban area and township, in every dorpie and village. This is not an insult to anybody but an appeal that cadres of our movement must take time to build the organisation and not have a debate about being put on the list.

In trying to explain that people get elected with any need to put them on the list there are comrades from these so-called minorities who make it to the top 25% without any intervention because structures know them. In those instances members of our movement don`t see minorities but activists and leaders of the organisation. The appeal that we must make is comrades must not assume the title of being victims in their organisation. They have the same rights and duties as any other member of the ANC. But we must not evade the reality of weak structures in many areas where our performance is weak. The criticism is not directed to minorities but activists, members and leaders of the ANC, anywhere and everywhere.

The ANC cannot categorise its members and leaders into minorities and majorities. That categorisation will introduce a culture of being cautious when dealing with some members. The consequence of that is that the other section that is not regarded as sensitive will be looked down upon and be taken for granted. The temptation of putting ourselves in these boxes must be resisted and deal with all the members honestly and candidly.

If there are problems in the suburban area in Freeway Park, Boksburg, where I reside I cannot expect "leadership" from outside the area to come and do basic organisational work in my residential area. Any leadership that comes to the area should be reinforcing work being done by the activists in the area.

That criticism is not reserved for the so-called minorities but will apply equally to senior leaders who reside in suburbs but do no organisational work in those areas. They then start believing that it is impossible to organise such areas. This is the harsh reality that must be confronted head-on.

Gwede Mantashe
Per email
Secretary General
African National Congress

No comments: