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Gigaba wasn’t targeted, mistakes are his own: Mantashe

African National Congress national chairperson Gwede Mantashe has criticised those blaming former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba’s political woes on a “generational battle” in the ANC.

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba
South Africa’s Former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba

“He was not being targeted. You commit mistakes in politics at your own peril,” Mantashe told News24 on Wednesday.

“It’s not about a collective; many of my generation committed mistakes and they fell on their sword, nobody argued,” he added.

The Presidency announced Gigaba’s resignation on Tuesday, just a day before President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to take action against him, as per the Public Protector’s recommendations.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba resigned from his post following mounting pressure for President Cyril Ramaphosa to give him the boot.

Advocate Busiswe Mkhwebane directed the president to take “appropriate action” against the former minister after it was found he had lied in court, which violated the Executive Members’ Ethics Act. This is in relation to the Fireblade Aviation saga.

This after both the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court upheld an earlier finding that he had lied to the High Court.

Gigaba has maintained that he never gave permission for the Oppenheimer-linked company to operate a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.

The former minister also faced increasing pressure after a video showing him involve in a solo sexual act was leaked several weeks ago.

Gigaba has claimed the controversies around him were part of a plot to destroy him and ruin his chances of becoming South Africa’s future president.

Some in the governing party, such as Ekurhuleni mayor and ANC regional chairperson Mzwandile Masina, have not only publicly stood by Gigaba, but have agreed with his claims, alleging his removal was about internal ANC battles.

On Tuesday, Masina told News24 that “a generation was being wiped out of government”. But Mantashe disagreed with this view, arguing that young people like Masina were given great responsibilities of running metros, while the ANC’s national executive committee – which is it’s highest decision-making body in between conferences – had a large number of young people.

“They want this for their faction, not for the youth. It has nothing to do with the youth, but their faction,” said Mantashe.

“It has nothing to do with youthfulness; it has everything to do with who should be in power,” he continued.

The national chairperson of the party, who is also minister of mineral resources, said the top leaders of the ANC were a product of the national conference.

He insisted that there were many young people in the NEC, listing David Masondo, Ronald Lamola, Tandi Mahambehlala, as well as Science and Technology Minister Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, as some of those who represented young people in the structure.

Mantashe also cautioned against the public comments Masina has been making throughout the saga. The Ekurhuleni chairperson has been sharing more of his thoughts on the matter since Gigaba’s resignation.

“First it was (Peter) Mokaba who was rejected in the executive, Lulu Johnson was ignored, Gigaba and (Fikile) Mbalula removed, (Julius) Malema and co fired, yet we are future,” tweeted Masina.

“They made unfortunate pronouncements when Malusi was in trouble. Young people must learn to keep quiet when there are problems, because they push each other deep into trouble,” said Mantashe.

“(Masina) made very unfortunate pronouncements,” repeated the ANC national chair.

Mantashe said many leaders supported Gigaba, but did not make loud declarations in public.

“We all support Malusi, but we didn’t make the noise that they make. They think they can make a big noise and we all get frightened and we run for cover. It doesn’t work like that,” said Mantashe.

They must just learn basic things, he concluded. – News24