'You must touch flies and tigers': Mantashe on ridding ANC of corruption and factionalism

12 September 2021 - 10:38
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

ANC chairperson and energy and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe said the party was starting to deal with big guns in its ranks in a bid to tackle corruption and factionalism.

Mantashe said this on Saturday while delivering a lecture on the role of the SA Communist Party in the building of the labour movement in SA.

“[The Chinese communists say] if you want to deal with corruption and factionalism, you can't focus on flies and not touch tigers, you must touch both flies and tigers. This cleansing process of the ANC is beginning to touch both flies and tigers.

“We hear a lot of complaints about 'what have the tigers that are being dealt with done?' A tiger that always has its hands on the till must be dealt with, whoever it is. Even if it's Gwede, whoever it is, if my hands are always on the till, I must be dealt with so that in the future corruption and factionalism must be an exception, it should not be a norm,” he said.

The ANC this year finally implemented its step-aside rule for members facing serious charges and corruption.

Though he did not mention him by name, the party's highest-ranking official to be asked to step aside is its secretary-general, Ace Magashule, who is facing charges related to an asbestos project in the Free State when he was premier.

Magashule and his supporters view the suspension from the party as a factional fight and moved to resist it but were defeated by the dominant faction in the ANC national executive committee which supports President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mantashe said the ANC was going through a difficult period and urged members of the SACP, which he once led as its chairperson, to contribute with ideas to save the party.

“The ANC is moving through a very difficult patch of time. The options we have as communists is to appreciate that the ANC is going through this patch of time and the period it's entering is very painful and it is even resisted internally.

“We must take a decision to say we are going to support the process of renewal and we must accept it upfront as communists. Renewal, everywhere it has happened is always painful and it is always resisted by beneficiaries of rot. Beneficiaries of rot resist change. If communists begin to internalise that and give us a theoretical framework of confronting that reality, we will be a better movement.

“But if [the SACP], instead is ululating [due to the problems faced by the ANC], they are wrongly doing so ... you don't ululate to celebrate your hurt, that is not done,” said Mantashe.