ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has rounded on the three former ANC government ministers who resigned as members of parliament, effectively describing them as money-grubbers.
The three – Tina Joemat-Pettersson of energy, Dipuo Peters of transport, and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas – resigned as MPs this week after they were sacked in a cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday last week.
Mantashe’s tongue-lashing yesterday is seen as part of Zuma’s fightback against growing criticism of his leadership.
But SA Communist Party first deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin has revealed that Mantashe, along with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize, who were also believed to be contemplating resigning, had been persuaded to stay on in the party to lead the fight against Zuma from within.
This is despite Mantashe presenting a united ANC to the public this week after leading vocal criticism last week of Zuma and his cabinet reshuffle.
Cronin’s claims follow his revelation that he [Cronin] had officially called for the inspector-general for intelligence, Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to investigate the intelligence report that Zuma used to fire former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and Jonas.
The National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union also called yesterday for Dintwe to investigate the “shoddy” document.
“We call on Zuma to clarify whether he stands by the allegations of treason that he has levelled against these two comrades,” the union said.
“Otherwise the president must make an apology to both these comrades and the public.”
Mantashe told The Times the three former ministers should have learnt from SACP MPs who stayed in parliament when Zuma fired them in 2014.
He said their quick resignation was a clear attempt to preserve their lucrative pension benefits accumulated through their ministerial jobs.
“When people get to the back benches, they lose their pensions.
“Their pension will be calculated at the rate of a backbencher,” he said.
While Peters and Jonas could not be reached for comment, Joemat-Pettersson said parliament was “not the only site of struggle for radical economic transformation”.
She said she would continue to make a small contribution in the ANC’s national executive committee.
Mantashe said the ANC would fill the vacancies ahead of the debate on the motion of no confidence in Zuma on April 18 from their MPs nomination list from the 2014 elections.
“People resign, we replace them. It won’t change the vote of no confidence,” he said.
His comments followed the singing of praise songs by councillors aligned to Zuma when he addressed the third Presidential Local Government summit in Johannesburg yesterday.
Councillors chanted: “This is Zuma’s turf‚ if you don’t want him‚ you must step back.”
The groundswell of support for Zuma comes as a series of marches are planned around the country today. In