Can you really give ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s assurances that retracting his earlier personal criticism of President Jacob Zuma’s disastrous Cabinet reshuffle is anything other than pushing what increasingly appears to be the ANC line?
Mantashe’s public acceptance of the machinations of the past few days possibly point to factions among the ANC heavyweights signalling that it is time to circle the wagons and weather the barrage of fire arrows which have been raining on the embattled ruling party.
But the ANC veteran is travelling a perilous road. Politics is not an arena to kiss things better with a Band-Aid.
Memories of slights – real or imagined – tend to leave lasting scars and build festering resentments.
But with large sectors of the South African electorate vocally appalled by Zuma’s autocratic approach, it was clear that someone substantial within the ANC had to stand up and take the flak.
It is Mantashe’s exalted position in the party hierarchy which placed him front and centre and set him up for what amounts to a public whipping.
In undertaking the exercise, Mantashe did little to further his personal credibility in whatever transpires along the road to 2019 … or to that of the ANC.