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In a sign that some senior ANC figures are tiring of President Jacob Zuma’s influence, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has placed the blame for the party’s relatively poor showing in local elections on scandals linked to the president. The Nkandla refurbishments at taxpayers’ expense and allegations of state capture have had a negative impact on recent party performance. More worrying for Mantashe, though, is that a shift towards a “mafia state” could destroy the democratic movement. He has urged the ANC, and others, to have a “candid” conversation about state capture and points to similarities between South Africa and Zimbabwe as a sign of the nation’s deterioration. Meanwhile, gains by the Democratic Alliance (DA) are – he says – a sign that the country is being recolonised in parts. Mantashe has woken up and for the most part smelt the coffee, as he has asked his associates to do, though his brew is arguably giving him a peculiar slant on the DA mission. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, because a change in the status quo is unlikely any time soon without influential ANC leaders like Mantashe setting the wheels in motion. – Jackie Cameron
By Jenni Evans
Cape Town – The ANC needs to have a candid debate on state capture to save the movement, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said in Cape Town on Wednesday.
He said the Constitutional Court judgment against President Jacob Zuma on Nkandla, the allegations of state capture by the Gupta family, and repeated allegations that the ANC was corrupt, had contributed to the relatively poor showing by the party in the August 3 local government elections.
“The ConCourt judgment on Nkandla did impact on the elections [for] the ANC,” Mantashe told delegates at the SA Clothing Textile and Allied Workers 13th national congress.
He understood state capture to be a system where leaders of a movement, such as the ANC, got business people to sponsor them and their campaigns; and in return, when they are serving in the state as a movement, they also served as proxies for various business interests.
The state then protected particular interests, chose particular tenders, and was, therefore, captured.
In addition to that, the state was used to target certain individuals, which created a “mafia state” that targeted political opponents to remove them, he said.
“The movement, and beyond the ANC, must begin to have a candid debate on that issue to save our movement,” said Mantashe.
Mantashe was touching on allegations that the Guptas, a wealthy industrialist family, had weaselled their way into certain ministers’ pockets, with Zuma’s knowledge.
Critics bleeding ANC to death
The ANC invited submissions on state capture earlier this year, but received only one in writing – from former government spokesperson Themba Maseko.
Mantashe warned against factionalism and criticism driven by ANC veterans, saying this was recognised as a common danger sign in liberation movements around the world.
ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, has conceded that strategic plans are needed to revive the party.
— SAfm news (@SAfmnews) September 7, 2016
Critics were trying to bleed the party to death, in the hope of new life coming out of its carcass, he said.
“The only life that comes out of a carcass is a worm that becomes a fly,” he said. “And therefore the life that comes out of the carcass is as short as a fly’s.”
He added that another sign of flagging support for liberation movements was when they started losing control of urban areas – as even Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe had seen.
Mantashe regarded the Democratic Alliance’s victories across the Western Cape and Eastern Cape as the recolonisation of South Africa.
“And that is what we should be waking up to. It is a reality that we should organise [ourselves against] to reverse it.
“We must pay attention, smell [the] coffee, and wake up.”
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