ANC Top Six Issue Ultimatum: Gwede Mantashe won’t back down on dealing with President Jacob Zuma’s anointed one in Nelson Mandela Bay – Andile Lungisa – not even after he warned Lungisa a week before the election not to stand for the position.
Mantashe had warned Lungisa not to contest for the regional election since he was already a member of the Provisional Executive Committee.
More so, the ANC secretary-general reminded him that standing for an election – as a PEC member – defies the constitution of the ANC – which bars PEC leaders from contesting at the regional conference.
But Mantashe’s instruction fell on deaf ears as Lungisa finally filed out and beat his rival ANC MPL Tony Duba by 71 votes to 57 in the election.
He insisted that he was forced to stand for the election by the regional leaders and couldn’t reject the position – but Mantashe maintains he’s having none of such lame excuses.
Last week, the ANC Top Six wrote to Lungisa, imploring him to immediately step down and resume his duties as a member of the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC).
The ANC’s top six which includes Jacob Zuma‚ Cyril Ramaphosa‚ Baleka Mbete‚ Gwede Mantashe‚ Jessie Duarte and Zweli Mkhize arrived at the decision during a meeting last Monday.
In response, a defiant Andile Lungisa insisted he is waiting for ANC National Executive Committees’ decision on the matter.
But it has now emerged that Lungisa has until Thursday to step down or face disciplinary action from the party. The ultimatum was endorsed by the ANC top six.
Apparently, this shows Zuma’s leadership choice in Port Elizabeth has been overruled by his colleagues – Mantashe, Zweli Mkhize, Cyril Ramaphosa, Jessie Duarte and Baleka Mbete, or maybe just four of them.
Zuma gave Lungisa – who was charged with fraud for his role in the misappropriating of funds at the National Youth Development Agency – his vocal and public support to take over the position of the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay. He actually flew down himself for the occasion.
Some of the possible reasons why it appears Zuma needs Lungisa badly and why the duo defied Mantashe’s instructions include:
- The ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay region is an important player in one of the ANC’s biggest provinces. The party’s national conference in December is fast approaching, and a win here would set Zuma on the right path.
- On a lighter note, though, Zuma needs someone to wrest the Bay back in the 2021 elections. Of course, Lungisa himself, shortly after his election, vowed to wrestle power from the hands of the DA, with the help of his colleague.
Now that Lungisa has until Thursday to step down, will Zuma keep quiet and watch the ANC sideline his anointed one or will he lock horns with other ANC top leaders?