Cape Town – ANC Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman has inadvertently blown the lid off the best known open political secret: that there is a major rift between ANC president Jacob Zuma and the party’s secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
In an unprecedented move, Mantashe on Monday openly questioned Zuma’s authority and discretion as to whom he deploys in the Western Cape election campaign, which is gutted by the absence of decisive leadership.
Zuma and the ANC election head, Nomvula Mokonyane, last week made it clear they want Fransman to lead the battle for the hearts and minds of Western Cape voters, but Mantashe effectively thwarted the move by declaring Fransman was not back in the ANC’s fold.
The public spat between Zuma and Mantashe took an ugly turn with Mantashe lashing out at Zuma and Mokonyane for endorsing Fransman.
Describing Mokonyane as a “lone wolf”, while stating Zuma “cannot endorse Fransman”, Mantashe set the record straight that there’s no decision to reinstate Fransman.
He reiterated no decision could be made until Fransman appeared before the relevant party structures.
But Fransman, who was asked to step aside by the party’s leadership following the sexual harassment allegations brought against him by 21-year-old Louisa Wynand in January, returned to his office at Sahara House on Monday, despite the much published confusion over his status.
Ripping into Mantashe, Fransman said it was outrageous the secretary-general should publicly attack and question the president days before a critical election.
The provincial leader also approached the Western Cape High Court to obtain access to the ANC’s controversial Integrity Commission report into his sexual harassment case, which he believes was leaked to the media.
Irked by Mantashe’s remarks, Fransman said he was forced to turn to the courts to obtain the report.
Fransman said he had not received any formal communication regarding his case from Mantashe, and had been forced to rely on unclear media snippets.
“The SG has consistently refrained from answering my numerous letters; the SG has consistently refused to let me meet with senior officials; the SG has consistently denied the authenticity of the IC report leaked to City Press, even though the editor insists that an extensive interview’ with the SG confirms the authenticity of the report – which I still have not received,” he said.
Fransman said while the matter of the report was being handled by legal professionals, he would continue to ensure that ANC returns to as many local governments as possible on August 3.
ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs could not be reached for comment.