South African Ruling-Party Boss Reprimands Ex-Leaders' Criticism

  • Criticizing party in public is `bad and opportunistic'
  • Former President Motlanthe criticized ANC earlier in week

The secretary-general of South Africa’s ruling party reprimanded retired politicians for speaking out in public against issues facing the organization, saying it is “bad and opportunistic.”

“What must be read from their statements is that current challenges would never have happened when they or their political patrons were in power,” Gwede Mantashe wrote in an opinion piece published in Business Day newspaper Thursday. “Theirs was a golden age, and ours is ‘delusional’.” He said that “taking to the streets and shouting at your comrades in any roles, we were told, is bad and opportunistic.”

In an interview with Business Day earlier this week, former President Kgalema Motlanthe criticized the African National Congress for failing to maintain a non-racial society and suggested its leaders weren’t fully committed to the constitution. The party is devoid of the leadership needed to maintain a united society, and a lack of internal democracy is pushing young people away from it, the newspaper reported the former ANC secretary-general as saying.

The ANC’s alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which is the country’s biggest labor federation, and the nation’s Communist Party exists only in name, Business Day cited Motlanthe as saying. To talk about Cosatu as an independent organization from the ANC or SACP is a “delusion,” he said.

Opposition parties are seeking to capture some of the country’s major cities from the ANC in a local government vote in 2016. The party has won more than 60 percent support in elections since the end of apartheid two decades ago.

The ANC has internal forums to raise issues on the problems facing the movement and society, Mantashe wrote. “The bona fides of those who choose to remain silent in such forums only to find solace on the pages of newspapers should be brought into question.”

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