Mantashe has every right to back Ramaphosa for president - Mthembu

Gwede Mantashe's comments have found criticism in some quarters of the ANC. (Anthony Schultz, M&G)

Gwede Mantashe's comments have found criticism in some quarters of the ANC. (Anthony Schultz, M&G)

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu has defended secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s right to pronounce on his preferred candidate for the party’s next president.

Mantashe nailed his colours to the mast this weekend while speaking at two events in Limpopo, which was also simultaneously tweeted.

He said the ANC “will never elect a woman President”, but rather elect an ANC president, whether they are male or female.

Mantashe’s comments found criticism in some quarters of the party. ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala said Mantashe’s position required a leader who did not hold a “one-sided view”.

Mthembu, a known supporter of Ramaphosa’s claim to the presidency, defended Mantashe on Tuesday.

Those who disagreed with Mantashe’s pronouncements should tell all ANC members why Ramaphosa should not become the next ANC president, he continued.

‘Betrayal’ coming
Mantashe responded to the criticism on Sunday, saying President Jacob Zuma had made his choice of candidate known to the public, and thus he too had the right to do so. In his speech on Sunday, Mantashe alluded to the dichotomous choice facing the ruling party over the next three months, hinting that the battle for the presidency was going to get ugly. “Pray for us, so that we choose life and prosperity in December, not death,” he said.

“Your prayers will help us, because this period is going to be characterised by betrayal. That is what we are going to see, leading to December.

“We must never ascend to power by destroying others. We ask that the church pray for us. We pray that you pray for the ANC,” he finished. – News24

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