Nobody should be allowed to talk down to the leadership of the ANC or its members, national executive committee member Malusi Gigaba said on Saturday.
Gigaba was reacting to public calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down following the Constitutional Court’s judgment regarding spending on non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home.
These calls have also been coming from ANC veterans and members such as Ahmed Kathrada, Mavuso Msimang and Trevor Manuel.
“The veterans of the ANC do not influence the masses of the people… our view is that as the custodians of the values and ethos of the ANC and culture and tradition of the movement, they know what they ought to have done to raise those issues,” he told News24 on the sidelines of the ANC’s manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth.
“By choosing the public platform they forcing us to respond to them using the public platforms, and nobody must be allowed to talk down to the leadership of the ANC, [and] talk down to members of the ANC, because they are not the moral demigods of the ANC more than anyone else who belongs to the ANC.”
Gigaba said ANC veterans and former leaders should have respect for the current leadership of the party.
“We expect respect from our predecessors, much the same way we respected them before.
“They must come to talk to us in a proper way, in a respectful way, respecting the leadership structures of the ANC and all the platforms created by the ANC.”
Gigaba, who is also the Home Affairs Minister, said the ANC would not allow these issues to distract it ahead of the August 3 elections.
He said there were always topical issues ahead of elections, which impacted the ANC’s campaign.
Majority not worried by Nkandla
In 1999 it was the situation in Zimbabwe and how the South African government was managing it, in 2004 it was the HIV and Aids debate and in 2014 it was e-tolls and Nkandla.
“So we do expect that as a result of the fact that we are in government there will always be these issues which arise, which impact on the ANC and its ability to garner votes,” Gigaba said.
“We go into the elections campaigning with our eyes wide open knowing those challenges.”
The ANC leadership, however, was not going to sweep this issue under the carpet, he said.
Gigaba said while visiting communities, some people had raised the Nkandla issue with officials but not the majority.
“People said to us ‘we accept the apology of the president’ but that does not change my life in my house.”
ANC officials have spent the week in the Eastern Cape visiting communities in and around Nelson Mandela Bay.
This was part of a bid to mobilise supporters to attend the manifesto launch.
Later on Saturday, Zuma will officially launch the party’s manifesto.