Mantashe warns ANC about ‘giving masses the middle finger

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe 

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has warned the ruling party against “giving the masses the middle finger” and still expecting popular support.

Mantashe said this would certainly lead to the ANC losing power.

Speaking to mainly SACP members in a packed Matlosana auditorium in North West‚ Mantashe said the ANC and the tripartite was in a “fractious and divided” state.

“The state of the movement is fractious. The alliance is divided. We can sit here and pretend that we are united but we are divided. Our voice is inaudible. We are being challenged‚ not on the basis of the inferiority of our policies‚ but on the basis of the mistakes we make‚” said Mantashe.

“When we make mistakes we get into a denial mode and we get on a platform and say ‘we’ve made a mistake‚ so what?’ You can’t give the masses the middle finger and expect the masses to come back.”

Mantashe said it was unthinkable that the opposition had recently managed to mobilise thousands to march against the ANC in cities across the country and he bemoaned the ANC’s reaction to the protesters.

“How did we react? We insulted them instead of engaging them and bringing them back to the ANC‚” said Mantashe.

Mantashe is the second ANC top six member after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to insist that protesters marching against President Jacob Zuma’s administration be listened to rather than chastised.

He said he was not convinced that land expropriation without compensation was the right thing.

Citing Zimbabwe as an example‚ Mantashe said he was impressed with the land programme in that country but lamented that “it has destroyed food production”.

“Zimbabwe imports everything‚” he said.

Mantashe hit out at ANC members and leaders who said the ruling party no longer needed the SACP but‚ equally‚ warned the SACP against making an “emotional decision” to part ways with the ANC.

In an apparent veiled attack against Zuma’s push for radical economic transformation‚ Mantashe said convincing the National Party to hand over power despite possessing a strong arm was truly radical and not “an abstract thing like radical what what”.

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