Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mantashe Stresses Unity at ANC Celebrations in South Africa

Mantashe stresses unity at ANC celebrations


The African National Congress was out of the "crisis mode" which had occupied its members during 2009, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Saturday.

Addressing the party's 98th birthday celebration in Boshof in the Free Sate, Mantashe focused on unity within the alliance and the forthcoming municipal elections.

He said the ANC must work for unity in the party and that it [unity] was not a luxury but "a must have".

Mantashe steered clear of allegations of tensions between him and ANC national executive member Tokyo Sexwale, referring only to recent headlines of the alliance being in turmoil.

"Some of that was manufactured of course," he said.

Asked about the apparent tussle between the two ANC heavyweights, Mantashe denied it, and said: "It's seen by all of you [the media], except us".

This follows speculation that unity in the tripartite alliance was in trouble after ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and NEC member Billy Masetla were booed at the South African Communist Party (SACP) special conference in Polokwane in December.

Mantashe said the ANC had the responsibility to protect the alliance and lead it.

"Ours is not a paper alliance. Instead it's a living organism born out of the struggle."

Mantashe said the alliance consisted of independent bodies and that it was not "correct" to expend effort in dividing it.

Echoing calls by Free State premier Ace Magashule, Mantashe said the debate on the election of new leadership in the ANC for 2012 should not deteriorate into a conspiracy.

"The debate should be comprehensive and not individualistic," he said.

Mantashe said the party were aware of councillors who were positioning themselves for the forthcoming local government elections.

He warned against municipal protests which had been used to discredit councillors in an effort to get rid of them.

"It's to get them out, so that others can take their place."

He urged communities to retain experienced and hard-working councillors. - Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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