Paul Mashatile

(Photo by Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Gauteng ANC resolute, says party has ‘lost the ability to lead’ under Zuma

The Gauteng branch of the ruling party has come out swinging against Jacob Zuma and the effect his ‘leadership’ has had on the ANC.

Paul Mashatile

(Photo by Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

ANC Gauteng chair Paul Mashatile isn’t exactly known for beating around the bush when it comes the provincial branch’s views on the current leadership crisis within the party; and after Monday’s booing of Jacob Zuma, Jesse Duarte and Baleka Mbete at three separate May Day rallies in three separate provinces Mashatile again had to speak out.

Related: Gordhan’s first interview since March comes with a stark warning, for some in the ANC

Chatting to EWN, Mashatile made it clear that the Gauteng branch believes the ANC’s position as a leader has suffered as a result of Jacob Zuma and his allies in the party, adding that come 2019 members would only have themselves to blame should the party lose the elections.

Since Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle the already crumbling Tripartite Alliance has become fractured, with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Communist party (SACP) – the two organisations responsible for ensuring the ANC stays in power – calling for Zuma to step down and allow Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the party.

The division within the alliance came to breaking point on Monday when SACP and Cosatu members booed Zuma, Mbete and Duarte – the key players in camp Zuma –, forcing the ANC to lash out at the very people who’ve helped it stay in power and perhaps the only people who’d be able to prevent it from losing the 2019 general election.

Read: Zuma booed at May Day celebrations, ANC blames Cosatu and the SACP

In the wake of the embarrassing May Day rallies, the ANC Youth League went so far as to say that its members – and likely the Women’s league under fellow Zuma crony Bathabile Dlamini – would make a point of heckling Cyril Ramaphossa and his supporters at every future opportunity they get as payback for what happened on Monday.

Anyway, back to Mashatile. The Gauteng chair said his constituencies won’t back down on calls for Zuma to step down, seeing it as the only way to save the party from complete collapse in the run-up to 2019.

 “We have long accepted that there are problems within the ANC. We have committed ourselves to address these challenges,” Mashatile told EWN.

“I agree that we’re no longer a leader. I think we have weakened and should correct that to reclaim our position as the rightful leader of society,” Mashatile said, adding that only the ANC NEC can remove Jacob Zuma, so if you’d like to know why he’s still in power you should ask them.

“Why is it difficult to remove Zuma? I think that’s the question that must be answered by the NEC. Our position in Gauteng is known; I don’t have to repeat it.”

Read: If you shout at the ANC we simply won’t listen to you. Gwede Mantashe