Don’t LOL: ANC’s Mantashe reaches out on Twitter

While a briefing by Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters packed out a hall in Braamfontein on Thursday, Mantashe took an hour off from his schedule to answer questions on pertinent current issues from Twitter followers.

At the top of the list was the statement released by the office of the presidency, following Tuesday's Cabinet reshuffle, stating categorically that Zuma would not be giving reasons for his decisions on the matter.

Followers questioned whether or not as voters, the public needed to know why some ministers were removed and some were not.

According to Mantashe, if Zuma had publicly explained his reasons, he would have had to give personal details on the individuals concerned and subsequently hurt them. "It is a principle to never do that," he tweeted.

Next up was the controversial Nkandlagate documents which were reported on by the Mail & Guardian last week, after being deemed as classified. Tweeters wanted to know if it was acceptable that Zuma could spend R270-million on a "palace" while people still lived in shacks.

"Once we get the report, we will deal with the facts, not perceptions," said Mantashe, adding that the debate should be open and be finalised once and for all because keeping it away is creating myths around it.

On the building of the Medupi power station in Limpopo, which has led to an escalation of costs and delays in the rollout, he said: "We would have loved for Medupi to be on schedule, but we realised with the strike that there was tampering with the critical path."


'Laugh out loudly, girl!'
Asked about the vision of the organisation and what its leaders will be remembered for, the ever so enthusiastic Mantashe boldly said that incremental achievements in the areas of health and education will only be appreciated some years down the line. "Our vision is to have what is envisaged in the NDP, Vision 2030, whether in the economy, health or education."

Mantashe reminded followers that the ANC has not abandoned the Freedom Charter. "As a matter of fact, we are implementing it. Look at the 10 clauses that include the ownership of mineral wealth beneath the soil being owned by the state. This has been achieved."

Mantashe, affectionately or cynically named "uncle Gweezy" by some, spent a bit of time explaining to the young followers that he is very much in touch with the youth and their ways. He was quizzed on why he uses the social network slang "LOL" so often, to which he responded, "Laugh out loudly, girl!"

Some tweeters questioned whether or not it's possible for him to know when to "LOL"? Mantashe responded, "You better be convinced. Time is moving! LOL!" Soon after, he bowed out, wishing Muslim citizens a blessed Ramadaan.

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