At a media briefing at the party’s headquarters in Joburg on Monday, Mantashe said the ANC would summon its senior leaders who have spoken “negatively” about the party in the wake of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela report on the upgrades of President Jacob Zuma’s private residence.
Mantashe was apparently referring to prominent figures within the ANC, including Trevor Manuel, Pallo Jordan, Ronnie Kasrils, former President Thabo Mbeki and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, all of whom have been outspoken about Madonsela’s damning report.
Jordan in particular was scathing in his criticism of the spending on Zuma’s home, saying Zuma’s administration was “littered with scandal”.
The ANC has been very vocal against widespread malfeasance. At the same briefing Mantashe addressed on Monday, he insisted the ruling party was committed to promoting public accountability. But the party’s actions are in conflict with what it is saying on graft. If the ANC was truly committed to rooting out theft of public resources, why would it threaten those within its ranks who speak out against the scourge?
It is not the first time individuals in the ANC who have acted out of principle and condemned impropriety have been rapped over the knuckles.
ANC veteran Ben Turok was in all sorts of trouble with the party for doing the right thing. In 2011 he broke ranks with the party when he abstained from voting for the Protection of State Information Bill, a piece of law clearly designed to conceal corruption.
Gloria Borman, who also did not vote for the Bill, did not escape the wrath of her party and was castigated for “ill-discipline”.
The ANC’s latest threat against its members who have refused to justify gross abuse of public office is yet another indicator the party is paying lip service to its commitment to clean governance.