/ 2 November 2016

Paul Mashatile joins #SaveSouthAfrica: There was nothing we could do before now

Paul Mashatile.
Paul Mashatile.

Heavyweights from various sectors of South Africa have filled the St Albans Cathedral in Pretoria as they unite under #SaveSouthAfrica. Among them is Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile, who said he was representing the his provincial branch.

The Gauteng arm of the ANC has been vocal in calling on President Jacob Zuma to step down – a call that is echoed by the Save South Africa campaign. On Wednesday morning, Mashatile seemed to be the only high-profile ANC member in attendance at the protest, which culminated in a people’s assembly to condemn state capture.

“I’m joining the campaign here. As you know, initially there was meant to be a court case, so we had agreed as ANC Gauteng that we will come to court to support comrade Pravin Gordhan and the colleagues. But the charges were dropped and this activity was organised for today, so we thought we would come and be part of it,” Mashatile told the Mail & Guardian.

Despite previously calling for Zuma to step down after the Constitutional ruling against the president on the Nkandla matter, the Gauteng ANC has not yet been able to do anything beyond express their discontent. Mashatile said the Gauteng ANC has previously been prevented from launching such action as the provincial body could not override decisions made by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC). 

“There’s been discussions on and off in the ANC. The Gauteng ANC had expressed its views, but we are part of a unity organisation. Once decisions are taken by the NEC, ANC Gauteng could not go its own way, but we expressed our views on our displeasure right from the beginning,” Mashatile said.

He added that the Gauteng wing did not have enough support from within the party, but that there had been increasing discontent from within the ANC NEC.

“We didn’t have enough support in the ANC so we had to move on,” he said.

“There are a lot of comrades in the NEC who agree with us. Jackson Mthembu certainly has our support.”

Mthembu, the ANC’s chief whip called on the entire ANC NEC to resign in a landmark moment as pressure against the ANC leadership intensified over allegations of state capture.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was due to appear in court on charges of fraud, but the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges upon review of the case. Zuma is still set to have his urgent application to interdict former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report heard in the North Gauteng High Court later today, however.

Mashatile said that he would be tabling concerns about Zuma’s presidency to the ANC NEC. In the past, however, the NEC has dismissed concerns that the president should step down.

“We will obviously go back to the NEC for further discussions to see what others are saying, but our views are known,” Mashatile said.