Mantashe appealed to ANC branches to exercise extra caution when nominating their preferred leaders for the national conference in December saying the onus was on them to ensure they did not elect “corrupt leaders”.
“Let’s continue to discuss the leadership of the ANC, analysing the behaviours and track record of the leaders of the movement,” Mantashe told ANC members on Friday at the OR Tambo Hall in Mthatha, where he delivered the Chris Hani memorial lecture.
“If we do not do that, we will end up electing a leadership that is corrupt and hell-bent on looting state resources.”
In attendance were ANC national executive committee member Beauty Dlulane, the party’s provincial executive committee members Fundile Gade and William Ngozi, as well as party leaders of the OR Tambo region.
Mantashe said the “only way” to honour Hani’s legacy was for the ANC to root out factionalism and corruption in its ranks.
“Corruption and factionalism are intertwined. Let’s be frank about leaders and call them thieves if they are. When comrades steal from government, they are depriving our people of services that should better their lives. If you are stealing from government, you are the enemy of the ANC,” he said.
Mantashe said if branches were not paying attention to factionalism and corruption “within the movement” an “accidental leadership succession” would emerge after the December conference.
ANC OR Tambo regional chairperson Xolile Nkompela said the party was at a crossroads and in greater need of credible leadership. He said the ANC was unable to lead society, “and instead it’s the society which is leading the ANC”.
“We are a second biggest region in the country. When we go to conferences we are sure of the numbers. Even though the nomination process is yet to be opened, we support Mantashe. If you want to mess with this region, mess with Gwede,” Nkompela said.
Mantashe reiterated that President Jacob Zuma had not consulted the leadership of the ANC during his recent Cabinet reshuffle.
“He always consulted (but) he did not consult this time and that was the issue we raised,” Mantashe said.