ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe before addressing the media about the outcomes of the special NEC meeting that took place before the start of the 54th ANC national elective conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg.
Image: Masi Losi

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has questioned the ruling party's response to the ongoing state capture debate‚ saying the graft allegations, if left unattended, could destroy the ANC.

Mantashe has also admitted that the fact that three members of the outgoing top six leadership ran for president of the party was detrimental to coherence at the highest echelon of the ANC. 

In his organisational report delivered on Sunday evening to the ANC’s national conference‚ Mantashe acknowledged the strain this put on the unity of the outgoing top six officials‚ saying they had to confront dangers that threatened to tear the movement apart.

Outgoing deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa‚ national chairperson Baleka Mbete and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize raised their hand for the party’s top job‚ while Mantashe put up his hand for the position of national chairperson and Jessie Duarte stood for re-election as deputy secretary-general. 

Yesterday‚ the ANC electoral commission announced that only Ramaphosa from the three had reached the required nomination threshold and he was up against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the ANC presidency.

“The availability of three of the six officials‚ as presidential candidates‚ further complicated this space. The other three officials‚ by displaying their leaning with respect to the candidates‚ further made our work strenuous‚” Mantashe said in his report delivered.

In his report‚ the outgoing secretary-general said ANC officials faced threats that could tear the movement apart‚ including constant pressure to put up a show of unity in defence of President Jacob Zuma.  

“Each time there was an offensive on the person of the president, the threat heightened; causing officials to present a united front‚” Mantashe said. 

Earlier in his report‚ Mantashe noted that the attacks against Zuma in the past five years were unprecedented.  

“The Presidency has been assailed internally and externally in an unprecedented manner never witnessed in the history of our movement‚ in particular‚ and the liberation movement broadly‚” he said.  

Turning to state capture‚ Mantashe said there was a “rising groan” about state capture‚ corporate capture and the role of money in politics and policy making.  

“Society is currently engaged in a debate about state capture and how it hurts the economy and the reputation of South Africa as a country. Once more‚ our movement is [caught] flat-footed in this debate‚ because we are reducing it into a personal attack on those seen to be associated with the Gupta family‚” he said.  

Mantashe said if the ANC did nothing about state capture, it risked the party being destroyed.   

"The issue of white monopoly capital being used as a counter to state capture is not scientific. This might be popular‚ but it is self-defeating‚” he said.