gwede mantashe tony yengeni

Gwede Mantashe, South African Minister of Minerals and Energy. Photo: RODGER BOSCH/AFP

‘Tony Yengeni acted alone asking Ramaphosa to step down’ – Mantashe

After NEC member Tony Yengeni reportedly called for Ramaphosa to step down, Mantashe has said the media needs to understand the ANC better.

gwede mantashe tony yengeni

Gwede Mantashe, South African Minister of Minerals and Energy. Photo: RODGER BOSCH/AFP

During a briefing by some of the African National Congress’ (ANC) top members outlining the outcomes of the meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) that was held over the weekend, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe came to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s aid by saying NEC member Tony Yengeni acted alone in calling for him to step down. 

TimesLIVE and various other media outlets had reported that insiders were claiming that Yengeni was unhappy with Ramaphosa’s call for the NEC to act severely on corruption-accused members, and had voiced the suggestion that Ramaphosa “lead by example and step down”.

Mantashe, however, said on Monday 31 August that Yengeni was alone in this call. 

Mantashe: ‘Yengeni motion was not brought to NEC’ 

Following the bombshell announcement that members of the ANC who are being probed for allegations of corruption will be made to step away from the positions they are occupying, Mantashe clarified that the reports suggesting that a faction of the NEC, led by Yengeni, wanted Ramaphosa to vacate his office, were merely the result of speculation and some misunderstanding.  

“That was actually a media story,” said Mantashe.  “In any organisation, a motion is only a motion when it is opposed and seconded. If one member makes a comment and nobody supports that comment, it can’t be treated as a motion of a meeting.”

He said that Yengeni hadn’t followed up his comments in the formal setting of the NEC meeting, and therefore Mantashe doesn’t consider them to have had any weight whatsoever. 

“Now, Tony made this comment in the media, he didn’t repeat it in the NEC, so the story was planted in the media. It became the story of the weekend for the media but it had nothing to do with the ANC NEC,” he said. 

Ace calls for media to scrap ANC sources  

ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule also clarified the situation regarding Yengeni, saying that the media is confused about what the ANC means when its members provide comment on issues.  

“Maybe at times it is necessary that it is time to teach the media how the ANC operates,” he said. “I hear some of you saying that this is the illusion of unity.

“We are not like leaders of any other party because we are the governing party, We are more responsible than any other person.” 

He said that the media cannot rely on sources to explain what is happening within the ANC, because they will ultimately be misinformed. 

“Don’t have your sources within the ANC, because even comrade Tony… he posed a question. He said ‘President, why don’t you step aside?’. I think we need to ensure that we don’t get our information from sources. I think that this is why we need to come to you like this and give you all the information like we are doing today.”