Gwede Mantashe

Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's unusual decision to announce his running mates a few weeks ahead of the African National Congress's (ANC) 54th National Conference was on Monday slammed by the ruling party. 

The presidential hopeful caused a stir when he announced a team he wants to lead the governing party together with during a campaign rally at Tafelkop Stadium in the Sekhukhune district, Limpopo on Sunday.

Ramaphosa said he wanted Science and Technology minister Naledi Pandor as his deputy and former KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson and premier, Senzo Mchunu as the secretary-general of the party. 

He also lined up current ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe as the party's national chairperson and Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile as treasurer general.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa names his 'Winning Team'

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in a statement slammed the move by the presidential hopeful, saying it was unacceptable. 

"The ANC has noted with concern reports of statements made by leaders of the organization pronouncing on a line up of comrades to be elected as officials of the ANC at the 54th National Conference. 

"Such pronouncements are unacceptable whether comrades have a preference or not and seek to usurp the entrenched right of the branches to nominate candidates of their choosing. 

Mantashe added that the 2015 National General Council had resolved to outlaw slates and "reaffirm the role of the branch as the basic unit of the ANC. 

"Accordingly in implementing this resolution, the NEC directed that we ensure branch nominations are not tempered with and that the will of the branches is reflected  and respected," he said.

He further called on leaders and members to desist from "the practice of pronouncing on and circulating slates which may be seen to undermine the branches' inalienable right to select candidates best placed to implement the National Democratic Revolution".