ANC must change negative narrative - Gwede Mantashe

SG says this can't be done by spin-doctoring, but by talking to the party's programmes

ANC must change negative narrative: Mantashe

Pretoria- ANC secretary general Gwede Manstashe says the party has an obligation to change the negative narrative about it into a positive one.

"Negative narrative is something repeated over and over. The duty of the ANC is to change that narrative into a positive one," he told reporters in Pretoria.

"You don't change that by spin doctoring. You change that by talking to the programmes of the ANC."

Mantashe added that the only way for the narrative to change was for the leaders to embark on a serious drive to conduct political education with all structures of the party.

"When we go and do political education, that must have an impact and it must change the narrative," he said.

The national democratic revolution

The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) is meeting in Pretoria to take stock of the work that has been done. Mantashe said the meeting would look at various reports, including the report of the political overview delivered by President Jacob Zuma.

"[The political report is] basically giving an overview report on what we are doing as the NEC, ranging from the work we are doing in the regions, correction of selecting of candidates for local government elections. We are also looking seriously into whether the national democratic revolution is on course or is it having a threat to it."

Mantashe said the national democratic revolution was the programme of the ANC to achieve a united non-racial, non-sexist democratic and prosperous South Africa.

He further indicated that they had observed a moment of silence for President Fidel Castro because of the role he had played as an internationalist and for the impact of the people of Cuba on Southern Africa.

"As South Africa we are benefitting from the solidarity and relationship we have with Cuba. We will honour Comrade Fidel and we are hoping the state will elevate his role to the right level, even if it would mean the president addressing the nation and sending a delegation to the funeral as South Africa," he said.


ANC succession battle - Let’s talk principles before names

As the ANC prepares to elect a new leader when President Jacob Zuma steps down, Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says party members should be focusing on principles rather than throwing around names.

"We have agreed on the succession that let's go out to the regions and... talk principles first before we talk names, because when you talk names you create the stampede that I always talk about," he told reporters in Pretoria.

"Everybody who raises their hand gets into the hat instead of actually having principles where you measure every candidate against [every other]."

Mantashe was commenting while the party was having its ordinary NEC meeting. The meeting follows one with veterans to discuss the state of the organisation. He said they shared the same ideas with the veterans.

"That is the route we are taking and we think it's the right route. We agreed with the veterans that it is the correct route to follow," he said.

Urgent solutions needed

Mantashe further indicated that the meeting with the veterans was productive. The older ANC members, which include Rivonia triallists Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, and Denis Goldberg as well as ministers and heads of missions, want organisational renewal.

They, however, differ on whether this should include the removal of party president Jacob Zuma and his senior officials. Veterans said the situation facing the 104-year-old liberation movement needed urgent solutions.

"The meeting with the veterans went very well and even the outcomes of the meeting are now input into the NEC. It is part of the report of the NWC that between us and the veterans we are agreeing on going on an all-inclusive vigorous conference, an all-inclusive MKMVA conference and ultimately go to the policy conference," he said.

Mantashe added that the agreement reached with the veterans would see the next party policy conference being used as the consultative conference they were calling for. He said it was suggested that the first two days be used to look into the health of the organisation broadly then proceed to policy issues.

"What we want to demystify is the name. Rather than the name, we focus on the ideas, but involve everybody. Think very carefully about what we can do to accelerate our movement out of the crisis," he said.