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7 stand-out quotes from Gwede Mantashe’s last press briefing as SG

Inside Education Reporter

Outgoing African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe addressed journalists for the last time at the ANC National Conference in Nasrec on Monday morning.

Mantashe sat alongside Zizi Kodwa who also had his last sitting as the ANC’s national spokesperson.

Here are some of Mantashe’s best quotes from the briefing:

1. Mantashe will need a new job soon 

“The main purpose of today’s press is to say thank you very much, goodbye, farewell, I am not going to be secretary general in few hours. When I step out of that conference I will be unemployed, if you want an editor I will be available.”

2. On the negative effect of slate politics

“Slate politics weaken an organisation. Slate politics marginalise good activists. Slate politics make the organisation have a narrow pool to fish for leadership.”

3. On his respect for Jacob Zuma

“You can have all the problems with President Zuma, but you will not have of the ability to talk to the masses of our people. Even when there is problems, if you throw him into a meeting with the masses of the people that changes. And that is a rare gift. Sometimes you can be an intellectual  and lose that aspect of work. Very critical for the ANC.”

4. On state capture 

“The issue of state capture is one issue that continues to divide us but it imposes a responsibility on the leadership of the ANC to engage in that debate. State capture is there, it is facing us, we can hide our head and say it does not exist but it exists.”

5. Advice for new SG

“Talk to journalists. Others are going to irritate you. If you’re getting angry they’re going to provoke you deliberately. Avoid being angry. And that’s the advice I gave the incoming seceretary, I said: If a journalist writes something that is wrong, pick up the phone.”

6. Biggest challenge during tenure

“My biggest challenge is people who do not engage in the organisation take us to court. That is my biggest challenge. I want people to engage the ANC, the ANC must fail to resolve the issue and people must have the right to take us to court.”

7. Government affects ANC and vice versa

“All we are saying is that anything that happens in government impacts directly on the ANC. Whether the ANC is part of it or not.”

Voting is done and counting is underway and analysts maintain that it is too close to make a call on who will take the top spot.

Kodwa declared his support for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier.

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