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ANC must not be in denial, it is going through a tough time – Mantashe

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The ANC should accept that the ruling party is going through a difficult period, says ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe addresses the ANC Amathole regional conference in East London. Picture: ANC Eastern Cape Facebook page

THE ANC should accept that the governing party is going through a difficult period, says ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

“For the first time since 1994 ,we recorded elections results below 50%. To some, it says nothing, but, to us, it speaks a lot,” Mantashe said while addressing the conference of the Amathole region in East London in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday.

He warned the conference against taking an “ostrich approach” and being in denial, saying the province fared well in the elections on November 1.

The ANC saw its fortunes dwindle in many provinces and it even lost control of some councils, including metros, and was forced to enter into coalitions in councils such as eThekwini metro.

Mantashe said the party should have assessed whether it has been optimal in its “good performance” in the Eastern Cape.

“I hope this conference has just done that. How do you do that? First of all, you have to do an overall analysis of each region in the province to see if all regions performed well,” he said.

Beyers Naudé and Kouga municipalities were not under the control of the ANC and Koukama was governed through a coalition government.

“If we do the analysis properly we will identify areas where we need to pay attention and build the organisation. The reality will dawn that we can do much better and ring fence areas that need our attention,” Mantashe said.

He also noted that it was within the Amathole region that the district municipality with the namesake had experienced the threat of not paying its employees’ salaries.

“I hope you discussed it… It was said there is bloated staff in the district municipality and therefore the load was too heavy for the municipality.”

Mantashe said a conference ought not to be about feeling good and ignoring issues that related to the assessment of the state of councils in the region.

“It is the work of a conference of the ANC in a region like this to assess what we did right, what mistakes we continue to commit and what we should correct.

“A conference is not just to elect leaders, a conference, in (the) main, is to look into problems, look into resolutions and begin to use a conference as a platform to build the organisation.”

The top five leaders were elected uncontested by the delegates on the first day of the conference on Monday.

Mantashe said uncontested leadership could be good and bad.

“It is good if it reflects the unity of the region. It is bad if it is papering over the cracks,” he said to applause from his audience.

Mantashe insisted that the delegates to the regional conference would be playing marbles if they were papering over the cracks, because the cracks would eventually show.

He told the delegates that they should apply their minds to the resolutions they came up with at the provincial and national conferences.

The minister noted that the region was not leading the debate on the land question although the nine wars of dispossession were fought in its backyard centuries ago.

However, Mantashe said the region, which was to elect additional members to the executive, should become more united than before.

His advice to those who wouldn’t make it was that it was not because they were not wanted but their duty was to congratulate those elected.

“It is the first sign to say you welcomed the outcomes of the conference,” Mantashe said as he remarked about contests borne out of hatred.

He said the elected collective should not be any grouping; everyone serving on it should bring an attribute.

“The attribute must make the organisation stronger,” Mantashe said as he called on the Amathole region to take the responsibility of unifying the Eastern Cape seriously.

“A divided ANC is bad for the ANC. I am not asking you, I am telling you. You can divide the ANC but a divided Eastern Cape is bad for the ANC and it is bad for the country.”

Political Bureau

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