/ 21 September 2009

ANC slams handling of Semenya saga as ‘disgusting’

The way Athletics SA managed the gender controversy surrounding gold medallist Caster Semenya was ”disgusting”, the ANC said on

”We need to be upright in censuring the officials who handled the matter,” secretary general Gwede Mantashe told a press briefing in Johannesburg after a national executive committee meeting over the weekend.

”The ANC’s NEC looked into the Caster Semenya issue and felt it was disgusting the way it was managed … ASA didn’t handle the matter with the utmost transparency and honesty.”

Flanked by the party’s new spokesperson Jackson Mthembu, Mantashe said the NEC had determined the ANC’s alliance partners’ swipe at the party’s leaders needed an urgent summit, to kick-start ”ongoing engagement”.

”The NEC agreed that an urgent alliance secretariat, followed by an alliance summit, need to be convened urgently in order to take forward progress made since the 52nd national conference of the ANC,” Mantashe said.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions Last week expressed fears that Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel was accumulating too much power. Manuel, in charge of the National Planning Commission, recently released a green paper on strategic planning. Cosatu said if the former finance minister’s plans were acted on, he would become the country’s de facto ”imperial” prime minister.

The NEC welcomed the publication of the green paper by the national planning commission and the monitoring and evaluation department and invited South Africans to contribute in shaping the two policy initiatives.

The ANC delegation attending Cosatu’s national congress from Monday to Thursday would not go with its ”swords drawn”. It should provide leadership and contribute to building a strong federation.

The recent illegal protest by soldiers had made the NEC realise the error of allowing unions in the military.

”The NEC decided that the process of de-unionisation should begin, while a formal structure for engagement is being created in the SANDF,” Mantashe said.

The appointment of a commission to correct conditions under which soldiers worked would be part of this process.

The NEC also found the party’s succession debate on its 2012 national conference premature and instructed the party’s members to distance themselves from it.

In response to the recent violent service delivery protests, the party pledged to address historic spatial planning problems and resolve ”genuine” problems facing communities.

The party also dismissed the controversy of ministers buying expensive official cars as it had been done in accordance with the ministerial handbook.

The ANC also distanced itself from Transnet’s affairs. The parastatal was not discussed at the meeting and the appointment of managers should not be influenced by the party’s preferences.

Some ANC members recently supported suspended Transnet Freight Rail boss Siyabonga Gama’s bid to be chief executive of the company.

Gama was suspended for allegedly irregularly issuing tenders. Justice Minister Jeff Radebe recently called his suspension ”a gross injustice”.

City Press reported on Sunday that an ”ANC zone”, made up of eight party branches in affluent Johannesburg suburbs, was backing Gama in his fight with the Transnet board.

Also on the agenda was the party’s renewal initiative, which included a political education programme. Mantashe said a site had already been identified near the Vaal River to house the programme and temporary structures would be put up soon.

The presidential hotline was praised and as a response to the ANC’s call to ensure the government interacted directly with South Africans. – Sapa