Concerned by the increased factionalism in the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party leadership at the Luthuli house has forbidden members from making public comments or issuing statements on issues concerning the party.
The ANC’s national working committee (NWC) made this new decision after a meeting on Monday, saying it’s a way to clamp down on divergent views on matters related to the ruling party.
The meeting, according to the Citizen, was attended by ANC bigwigs, including President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.
The party settled for this after the party’s chief whip Jackson Mthembu joined the league of people who called on the entire ANC national executive committee, including Zuma, to resign.
The public comment by the party’s chief whip gave further indication of disunity in the party as many have foreseen a sudden collapse of the party.
The ANC has no doubt been under heat since the past local government election which saw the party losing some of its metros to its strongest opposition, the DA.
Issues around President Jacob Zuma – the Nkandla saga, spy tape, and state capture – have contributed to the damning crisis befalling the party.
The ANC’s decision to rein in its structures was apparently hastened by jostling for positions as Zuma’s term as ANC leader is nearing the end.
Maphatsoe, who confirmed this new development while he was about to have a brief meeting with the news Media, said he was told of the NWC decision by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday
He, therefore, withdrew his scheduled meeting on the claim that the said ban was to take an immediate effect.
An NEC member present at the Luthuli house said the ANC structures were likely to seek clarity at the next NEC meeting on why the decision was taken. “It is just a temporary thing,” the NEC member said.
Meanwhile, ANC national spokesperson Khusela SangoniKhawe denied that the party has barred its structures from speaking saying there was no such decision made by the party’s body.
The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize on the other hand said the office of the secretary general and the president had not communicated it to the league. “None of them had communicated with our office yet,” Mkhize said.
Moreover, Maphatsoe has been called to step down as the ruling party’s chief whip following his comments against the party and his call for Zuma to resign.
Among the members calling for his resignation is the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe, a well known supporter of President Zuma, who said Mthembu’s removal is necessary because he was not fit to lead the ANC caucus in parliament.