ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday called on ministers not to air their dirty laundry in the public domain.
He said calling ministers who had issues with one another under one roof was the best solution, as opposed to engaging with each other in public.
Mantashe was addressing the media in Johannesburg, following the party’s national working committee (NWC) meeting on Monday.
“We can only resolve conflicts among ministers by calling them under one roof,” Mantashe said. Commenting on remarks by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen, who on Sunday accused Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan of undermining the Hawks, Mantashe said he would not address the matter in public.
“Choosing Des to speak on the matter was a terrible decision made by the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) because they trapped him into saying ‘there is nothing special about Pravin, I would do the job as I’m better qualified’,” he said.
He said that, in retrospect, they would probably have realised they’d made a mistake.
“It was unfortunate, and the MKMVA should not have even spoken about the matter.”
Van Rooyen was speaking in his capacity as treasurer-general of the the MKMVA.
According to Mantashe, the implication of a minister being dealt with in public – in the manner the Hawks had proceeded against Gordhan –had extremely negative effects for the country and the economy.
“The ministers must be called by the Hawks if they have issues to answer to,” Mantashe said. “It is unnatural when you deal with an issue with a series of questions and answers, then send other questions, and then you want the minister to come to your head office and answer to brigadier so and so or general so and so.
“This actually delegitimises the process because if people must answer, they must answer and the processes must be normally done by the security cluster.” Mantashe said it was also “completely wrong” to create the impression that the National Treasury could not be touched.
“If that happens, there will be a crisis. That temptation must be resisted. On the other hand, when there are questions that need answering, do things in a normal way.”
He said if the Hawks had an issue with a minister, irrespective of who that minister was, the processes to be followed “should be cleared and not turned into a public exercise”.