8 June 2013

South Africa: Statement On Article Published in Mail and Guardian

press release

The African National Congress has noted and rejects the baseless and deliberate fabrication published as fact in the Mail and Guardian of Thursday 6th June 2013. In the article "Zuma's ANC foes pay price for unity", the paper embarks on a campaign of misinformation and distortion, ignorant of or deliberately ignoring fact in an effort to create a spectacle of disunity within the ranks of the African National Congress.

The African National Congress reserves its right to respond to the article and intends to submit a comprehensive response to the issues raised, however, in the meantime we would be amiss to leave these issues of deliberate and malicious misinformation unattended.

In the first instance, the African National Congress places it on record that it is not involved in the purging of any of its members. In fact, it is the National Executive Committee led by Comrade President Jacob Zuma, before and after the 53rd National Conference, that castigated any instances of factional pronouncements and statements that sought to sow division within the African National Congress. In the last National Executive Committee meeting held a few weeks ago, the NEC took an extremely dim view and spoke strongly against factional tendencies in all their manifestations, particularly in the run-up to the 53rd National Conference, viewing these as un-ANC and anti-ANC.

In a desperate attempt to give credence to its ludicrous claims of purging, the paper seeks to draw non-existent linkages between charges brought by a court of law against comrades and so-called battles within the ANC. The African National Congress has consistently maintained that, as per our Constitutional prescripts, everyone is innocent until proven guilty by a competent process of the law. The ANC continues to maintain this stance even in the case of our comrades mentioned in the article who find themselves in conflict with the law. How the Mail and Guardian views this as purge simply baffles the mind and speaks of the ever diminishing capacity to reason logically and coherently in the quest for sensationalism within the paper.

Comrades who have admitted guilt during an internal disciplinary process of the African National Congress, shown remorse and accepted the sanction meted out to them by the organisation are touted by the tabloid, Mail and Guardian, as irrefutable proof that President Zuma's "foes" are paying the price.

The issues relating to the criminal charges and the disciplinary process do not have any genesis in the Mangaung Conference and the comrades' preference for one leadership candidate or the other; contrary to this, these matters in fact pre-date the Mangaung Conference.

The provinces of Limpopo and North-West were identified by Conference as requiring attention and, where necessary, intervention from the incoming NEC due to challenges of unity, cohesion and stability in those provinces. This responsibility the NEC will never shirk for fear of some unidentified bogey man who will seek to interpret legitimate actions by the leadership as settling political scores.

In yet another outrageous claim by the once esteemed Mail and Guardian, the paper fails to comprehend basic principles of contractual and labour law, missing critical detail such as the fact that a fixed term contract by its very nature has a defined and finite end date. Where employment contracts have expired, to provide credence to its ludicrous claim, the paper stoops to interpret these as once again irrefutable proof of purging and marginalisation of comrades who would have taken a particular stance, and correctly so in our democratic tradition, at the 53rd National Conference.

Provinces and National government, before and after Mangaung, have often identified the need to reshuffle and re-engineer their executive committees in order enhance delivery of their mandate. The ANC-led government will continue to make these necessary adjustments in the interest of serving our people with no fear or favour. It is this commitment to serve our people that will constantly guide us in interventions we also make from time to time in municipalities such as the cases in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. The ANC shall never be afraid to act, without fear or favour, in pursuit of the mandate bestowed upon us by the people.

Gauteng, which is one of our stable and functional provinces, is singled out as being under the threat of dark forces which seek to unseat the current leadership. The NEC has expressed itself unequivocally that we are proud of the sterling work being done in that province and comrades should never be derailed by nameless and faceless sources that parade themselves as authority.

It is perhaps the Mail and Guardian's perspective on the Free State that provides the clearest sign of the intent of the paper and its sources. A disgruntled member who took the organisation to court is the only named source besides the National Spokesperson. The paper would be well advised to guard against being used in internal battles within the Free State province, differences of opinion which are well known to the organisation and that the ANC will stop at nothing to resolve. In its eagerness to rubbish the good name of the African National Congress and its provinces, the Mail and Guardian cannot even find the time to verify its facts with the comrades it accuses with impunity in the article, making the intention of the outcome of the article abundantly clear to all and sundry.

In the run up to the General Elections in 2014, there shall be all manner of accusations which will be flung between political contenders. The Mail and Guardian is not a known political opponent of the African National Congress and thus manufactured, untrue and baseless articles such as this one, which have become characteristic of the Mail and Guardian, can only lead us to wonder what the real intention may be.

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