Mantashe hits out at Chief Justice Mogoeng

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe took a swipe at Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Friday for publicly discussing the Constitutional Court judgment on the Nkandla matter. 

Addressing the media ahead of the party’s manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, Mantashe warned that the judiciary’s conduct will open a debate. Mantashe’s said that Mogoeng’s continuous utterances about the judgment would attract responses from politicians that may be interpreted as an attack on the judiciary. 

Earlier this week, Mogoeng lambasted the ANC and government for their unethical behaviour under President Jacob Zuma’s leadership. In order for South Africa’s political situation to improve, Mogoeng said, there needs to be a return to ethical practice.

He was addressing the Serious Social Investing Conference in Johannesburg on Monday. 

While Mantashe did not mention Mogoeng by name, he said that it was strange that the judiciary continues to give lectures on the Constitutional Court judgment. He said that he has instructed ANC leaders and members to respect the judgment and implement it.  “If they [the judiciary] become populists instead of doing what is expected of them in terms of the Constitution [that is dangerous],” Mantashe said in his address.

The ANC is watching the behaviour of the judiciary very closely, Mantashe added. 

He also defended Zuma saying that his apology to South Africans showed that he was remorseful. He evoked the Bible verse Psalms 51, saying that Zuma is a great leader like King David, who continuously asked for forgiveness for his wrongdoings. 

Mantashe said that the ANC had taken responsibility on the Nkandla matter and is engaging ordinary people on the ground. He added that opposition parties were using the judgment as a campaign tool. 

“Anything that the opposition can find, they will use it. They are doing that with Nkandla, they will continue to do that because they want to continue to put the ANC on the back foot,” said Mantashe. 

While Mantashe maintained support for Zuma, on Monday the Gauteng provincial executive council released a statement saying that Zuma must step down in order to restore people’s confidence in the party. 

Senior ANC leaders and cabinet ministers have been crisscrossing the Nelson Mandela Bay region to mobilise support ahead of Saturday’s ANC Manifesto Launch. 

The campaign has proven to be difficult for the ANC, however, as some of its senior leaders weren’t favourably received by potential voters. ANC Women’s League president and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini broke down in tears after Port Elizabeth residents hurled insults at her at a speaking event, and accused her of being drunk and therefore refused to listen to her. 

Despite the hostile reception of some ANC leaders, Mantashe said that the party is expecting the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium to be filled to capacity, adding that the ANC was expecting 100 000 people from across the country to attend the Manifesto Launch.

Opposition parties, particularly the Democratic Alliance (DA), believe that the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is up for grabs after the ANC’s managed to net less than 50% of the region’s votes after the 2014 national elections. The DA, on the other hand, managed to get 40% of the metro’s votes.

Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho Pilane is a health journalist at the Mail & Guardian. She debuted as a journalist at The Daily Vox, where she wrote primarily about gender, race and how they intersect. She was previously a general news reporter at the M&G. Pilane holds two degrees in media studies from Wits University. Read more from Pontsho Pilane


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