And sinister plots by a cabal out to seize political power. Simultaneously, it projects the person of the secretary general of the ANC as Joseph Finder's Adam in his thriller Paranoia – he is now to believe that "everyone is out to get him".
This article is the third in three weeks on so-called factions in the ANC. The first "revealed" a conspiracy by a KwaZulu-Natal cabal planning to ensure that the next three ANC presidents are from that province, hence the purported succession plan.
Were this true, every thinking member of the movement would condemn the revival of what the ANC sought to defeat from the minute of its conception and founding in 1912 – tribalism. The ANC's aversion to such ills made it a unitary, national organisation, which still sees tribalism as misconduct.
The second article alleged an intervention by ANC head office to stop Senzo Mchunu from contesting the position of provincial chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, implying that there was a choice of candidates. The implication is that KwaZulu-Natal comrades should feel nervous when assembled, because the provincial general council of the ANC has elected a "traitor".
There is also an attempt to create a "strong man" syndrome out of the president of the ANC, to whom all should kowtow for their political prosperity. Members of the ANC in good standing, however, have a right to elect whoever they prefer to the position: that is an inherent democratic principle of this movement.
The third article combines the previous two articles and is aimed at the secretary general, who is supposedly marginalised. Fortunately the ANC's decision-making process is clear. First, the secretary general compiles a report – informed by concrete work done by officials, the national working committee (NWC) or the national executive committeee (NEC) – for the meeting of the officials. Second, after this meeting, the report comes before the NWC for processing. Third, the report is tabled before the NEC (it is now an NWC report to the NEC) as the highest decision-making body of the ANC between conferences, to apply its mind and decide. Sometimes it agrees and at other times it disagrees with the committee's report.
The report to the last NEC was no exception. On Limpopo, the officials agreed on principles to guide the process of establishing the presidential task team. The names were processed and agreed to by all the officials, with the secretary general's office doing a background check on the individuals. A similar process pertained to the dissolution of the NEC of the ANC Youth League, with the NWC submitting a report to the NEC. After lengthy discussion, a decision was made. The deployment committee is chaired by the deputy president, co-ordinated by the deputy secretary general – the "chief executive" is not a member of this committee.
Thus the marginalisation or otherwise of the secretary general is, in all these instances, imagined. In any event, the secretary general is an individual, not the organisation.
When producing such stories, the M&G's paradigm of the past five years has been one of factionalism, which projects the ANC as controlled by a regional, tribalist cabal.
Most worrisome is the apparent determination to drive a wedge between different leaders of the ANC by suggesting that ANC members be suspicious of each other because the knives are out, three months after its leadership conference. That is the net effect of these three articles.
They are unbalanced, even on basic facts. Were such writings presented as political fiction or opinion pieces, they would be understandable. Unfortunately they are presented as "news". Although we admit that politics by its nature is rough, it is not always about conspiracies.
We urge your journalists to seek balance and to interact with us, which is something we appreciate doing. Such an honest relationship, with neither participant being a mouthpiece of the other, is beneficial to both the ANC and the M&G, and it would fairly inform the public.
Gwede Mantashe is the secretary general of the ANC