Danny Msiza can campaign for ANC, Mantashe says

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe says former Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza, who stepped aside after being charged for his alleged involvement in the VBS corruption, is at liberty to join the party’s campaign trail ahead of the much awaited national and general elections next month if he so wishes. 

Mantashe said this when speaking to us on Sunday World Engage on Tuesday last week when we pressed him about the party’s inconsistency on applying the rule, which was formulated as part of the organisation’s renewal programme. 

In terms of the rule, which has divided the organisation, members of the governing party who have been criminally charged must step aside to protect the integrity of the governing party. 

 This was met with an outcry, as other party members believe that the policy was unconstitutional and was inconsistently applied to purge those perceived to be the enemies of President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

In his response, Mantashe said there was no rule prohibiting ANC members, including Msiza, who are affected by the step-aside rule, from campaigning for the party ahead of the elections on May 29. 

Mantashe said many people were making a mistake by interpreting step-aside as a death sentence.  

Mantashe also defended ANC KwaZulu-Natal heavyweight Zandile Gumede’s participation in the governing party’s campaign trail after certain quarters complained that she was receiving special treatment. 

He said those who were complaining about Gumede, who has been on trial for corruption, and money-laundering relating to a R200-million plus Durban Solid Waste tender in eThekwini Metro, had gotten it all wrong. 

Mantashe said Gumede, who resurfaced on the ongoing campaign trail alongside him and NEC deployee to KwaZulu-Natal, Zizi Kodwa, was free to campaign for the party. 

“If anybody wants to criticise the step-aside rule, they must point to a person who is charged and is not on step- aside.  

“Zandile Gumede is stepping aside. Step-aside is not death; it means you are not given the responsibility by the ANC,” said Mantashe. 

Meanwhile, Mantashe said all the talk of a possible coalition government post-elections was nothing short of propaganda because the ANC would retain its outright majority. 

In his view, the ANC simply had no match for several reasons, including, among others, its impeccable service delivery track record and its efforts in transforming the state for the benefit of all since coming into power 30 years ago. 

There was no ANC competitor that had proof that it cared for all classes and groups of people in South Africa, except the ANC, he said. 

Despite the significant issue of high unemployment among young people, Mantashe said, the ANC government had positively impacted the youth, known as Tintswalos. 

“Actually, the ANC cares more for young people than any other organisation in the country. Not by giving them R350, but by taking them through school, no-fee schools, giving them food at school, taking them to university with NSFAS, and they come out as graduates. 

“Once you come back as a graduate, you have a fishing rod. What we are criticised for is that, now that they have a fishing rod, we must give them fish, and that is a different debate that we must have – that we must work together to get that fish,” Mantashe said. 

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