Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile has begged to differ with the national executive committee’s position to accept President Jacob Zuma’s apology on the Nkandla matter.
Mashatile was addressing a gathering of ANC professionals and academics at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria on Friday about the outcomes of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting held after the Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla. The court found that Zuma had transgressed the constitution by not complying with the public protector’s remedial action to pay for non-security features installed at the expense of taxpayers at his Nkandla homestead.
Mashatile said that though there was a general consensus to forgive the president, he disagreed with it, and he wasn’t the only one. He said “there were those among us who felt that the apology was not adequate”.
“I was one of them. I say this because sometimes people think we say things in corners. I don’t speak in corners. But, of course, I was not the only one.”
Mashatile said the meeting was characterised by robust discussion and was not an exercise to “just paper over important issues”.
He said that after the NEC meeting, somebody wanted to know what would happen if he crossed paths with Zuma.
“I told the person that after saying what I said in the NEC meeting, the president looked at me and said Comrade, just take an apple’.”
He added: “We are not enemies. The worst thing that can happen to the ANC is if we can all think the same. The day we will all think the same, the ANC is dead.”
He defended the decision of the provincial executive committee (PEC) regarding what it thought should be the repercussions in the wake of the Constitutional Court judgment. “The PEC has the right to differ… has the right to have a view. We take a view not because we want to support a particular person or we are scared of someone. We are not scared of anybody.”
Mashatile urged the professionals to air their views in writing to the PEC. He said the PEC would go back to the ANC next month to give feedback following engagements with party members and civil society.
Mashatile said the NEC opting to engage must not be treated as a directive to follow a particular decision because it would defeat the purpose of engagement.
“Any decision that will not enjoy the legitimacy of our people will kill us.”
He commented on reports that the Guptas had approached some ANC members with offers of ministerial jobs. Mashatile said the decision to ask those who have been approached to bring evidence to the ANC secretary-general’s office was aimed at avoiding state capture.
To much applause, he told the gathering that the ANC won’t be captured.
“And our state will not be captured. Where there are signs that this thing is trying to come, we must chop it immediately.”