Johannesburg - ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has criticised the party's leaders for trying to dismiss allegations around state capture by the politically connected Gupta family on Friday.
"A narrative was developed to link any discomfort with the influence of the Gupta family to the regime change agenda," Mantashe said.
He admitted that the series of the leaked #GuptaEmails indicating the extent of the family's influence on the executive and state-owned entities are harming the party. He demanded that those implicated must own up.
“Where we must own up, individual comrades should do so by providing reputable explanations as a few have done. Blatant denial lacks credibility in the eyes of society, Mantashe said.
This is contained in the diagnostic organisational report presented on the first day of the ANC policy conference that has dedicated two days to discuss the "health" of the party.
Mantashe specifically mentions the Gupta family, which has close ties with President Jacob Zuma.
The report was the first source of contention and has divided the conference. Two sources have told News24 that there was an attempt to block it, and debate took about two hours.
One source said it appeared there was a caucus ahead of the presentation by those supporting Zuma. The caucus was held on the sidelines of the conference ahead of Mantashe's presentation to the plenary. This was allegedly aimed at blocking the report though it was approved by the national executive committee (NEC) ahead of the conference.
Another source said the motion was put forward by a Mpumalanga delegate supported by delegates from the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as from the Women's and Youth League. But Mpumalanga later withdrew after it emerged the delegate had no mandate from the province.
Two sources said Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza intervened, leading to the report being presented. It is said he was supported by the Free State.
Mantashe confirmed during a media briefing there was an attempt to stop the report from being presented, joking that administering medicine is not always easy.
"Medicine is not easily taken even if you are sick. We had a long debate on whether it is [a] culture of the ANC to present [an] organisational report at a policy conference, but we later heard the report on condition that we would not tear ourselves apart," Mantashe said.
In the report, Mantashe said while the influence of the Gupta family on government decisions has become a household discussion, there was a temptation to regard the conversation as an "invasion of privacy and tempering with personal relations".
The Guptas can do business anytime anywhere, with whomever, but their relationship with families of prominent leaders attracts attention, Mantashe said.
"When there are benefits that accrue to families of the leadership, it is assumed to be corrupt in that the political leaders are supposed to have facilitated the accrual of benefits," Mantashe said.
However, President Jacob Zuma was not mentioned by name nor the implicated ministers, including Faith Muthambi and Mosebenzi Zwane.
"The leadership of the ANC should never be taken by surprise when society reacts to such relations. In our case, we become dismissive and defensive about it," Mantashe wrote.
He also slammed the use of the "regime change" rhetoric to dismiss state capture allegations.
"A narrative was developed to link any discomfort with the influence of the Gupta family to the regime change agenda. While it must be acknowledged that regime change is a real threat that needs to be analysed and a strategy to defend the country and the movement needs to be developed, this cannot be used as a response to the perception or reality of corruption," Mantashe said.
He said linking the regime change to state capture reflected the decline in the party’s analytical capacity. The ANC has supported a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the alleged state capture.
On the current heated debate on White Monopoly Capital, Mantashe said it should not be bandied about as if it’s a new phenomenon.
The report also details the reasons for the ANC's loss in electoral support during the 2016 local government elections. It states that the growing distrust between the people and their movement and "perception of ANC as entirely corrupt" and divisions and factions as some of the reasons behind the poor performance at the polls.
We are not the ANC of Mandela - Gwede Mantashe
Johannesburg – The ANC is under threat from what it calls colour revolution, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday evening.
Mantashe was briefing the media on a diagnostic organisational report he presented to party delegates at its first day of the policy conference.
Mantashe characterised colour revolution as a mode that escalates protest action of service delivery to challenge state power.
Mantashe said the colour revolution also provokes security forces and targets the state.
“We say the essence of colour revolution is to create discontent... and then the process graduates to revolt and then remove regimes from power... Elements of that are visible.”
SA not 'the darling of everybody in the world'
He made examples of the Marikana protests, which he said was never viewed as mine workers undermining authority and provoking security forces into action.
“I hope analysts will do that research and give us some detail rather than conveniently looking at the incident.” He also made examples of the FeesMustFall student movement where university buildings were torched.
“All those are signs of colour revolution creeping into protests.”
He said Zuma Must Fall was also part of colour revolutions. He said South Africans must analyse the character of these protests.
“Some sections of the ANC that are impatient and wanting to see the back of the president immediately feel justified in joining the Zuma Must Fall marches or voting with the opposition on the motion of no confidence in the president of the country,” the report read.
Mantashe said such colour revolutions were manifested during the Arab Spring in North Africa.
"The mistake we are committing as South Africans is this thing of thinking we are the ANC of (Nelson) Mandela... Therefore we are darling of everybody in the world. Its a big mistake. There is no such a country which is a darling of everybody."
The ANC has set aside two days of the policy conference for a consultative conference to review the health of the organisation.
On Saturday, the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies will host a Progressive Business Forum breakfast.
Deputy secretary general Jesse Duarte will brief the media on the commissions which will review policy documents from each province and provide further policy while Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe is set to brief the media on the implementation of the National Development Plan.