The ANC national office on Tuesday appeared to rap its treasurer-general, Matthew Phosa, and Premier Cassel Mathale over the knuckles for comments attributed to them during the party’s centenary celebrations in Limpopo at the weekend.
The party said it needed to uphold the responsibility of investing in the unity of the organisation and, to achieve this, the leadership needed to stop sending different messages to the public.
“If any of the national officials comment on a matter that is still pending, it may be interpreted as trying to influence the outcome of the matter at hand,” reads the statement issued by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
“It is, therefore, not correct for any of the officials to comment on the content of any case.”
Phosa has in recent months openly broken ranks with the ruling party on a number of key issues including on the suspension ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.
He has called for leniency on Malema’s behalf after assuring him that the party has no “dustbins for its comrades”.
This was interpreted by Luthuli House as pre-empting the outcome of Malema’s appeal and assuring the trouble-rousing Malema that whatever the outcome, he would remain within the ANC.
In the same breath as he was addressing Malema, who was seated next to him at the celebrations, Phosa also controversially entered the fray relating the alleged rigging of the elections during the recent provincial elective conference.
Mathale, who came up against Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Joe Phaahla, retained his chairmanship of the province.
Phosa attacked Phaahla and his supporters for lodging a dispute.
Also at the same provincial event, Mathale is said to have accused ANC leaders of fighting for the share of his province’s multibillion rand mining and energy projects. The projects include Eskom’s R30.5bn loan by the World Bank, part of which will be used to complete the Medupe power plant in the province.
Even before Mathale’s administration lost five departments to a national administration, he was a known supporter of Malema, something that widened the divide between him and President Jacob Zuma and his supporters.
Mantashe said the government’s decision to place the five departments under administration was an intervention that was meant to tighten government administration. “This decision is supported by the findings of the auditor-general.
“As the ANC, we are responsible for reinforcing good governance and accountable administration.”