By Staff Reporters

The harsh criticism of President Ramaphosa’s leadership by his three predecessors has elicited strongly worded reprisal from the ANC, further tearing the governing party apart.
Former leaders, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe blasted Ramaphosa, laying the blame for the country’s woes.
KwaZulu-Natal province known for its support of former president Jacob Zuma drew first blood.
In a statement, provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said the criticism was a “strange occurrence wherein former leaders are attacking the sitting ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC publicly”.
“On the 26th of August, we issued a statement informing the ANC rank and file – and the people of this country about our planned visit to KwaDakwadunuse to see President Zuma and to drink from his deep well of wisdom,” read the statement.
“The engagement with Msholozi followed another empowering engagement with President Thabo Mbeki.”
Mtolo further said party leaders have committed themselves to rebuild the province and ensure that no ANC structure was left behind. It said it saluted its leaders.
“However, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has noted a very strange occurrence wherein the above leaders are attacking the sitting ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC publicly. Clearly, such an exercise is eroding the standing of the organisation in society,” read the statement.
“Whilst we respect their rights, as enshrined in the Constitution, of freedom of speech, we respectfully request our leaders to exercise restraint.”
“Lastly, we are nursing a hope that our leaders will take a leaf out of President Nelson Mandela’s legacy. After leaving office, he spent his time as an elder and doing what elders do, instead of attacking a sitting president. He never publicly insulted or undermined leaders of the ANC – irrespective of how he felt about their conduct. He used internal processes to guide where he felt guidance was urgently needed.”
The Limpopo province followed its KwaZulu-Natal counterpart in calling three former party leaders to order over their public attacks directed towards Ramaphosa.
In a statement, the Limpopo provincial secretary Reuben Madadzhe said Ramaphosa should be given time and space to lead both the ANC and the country.
Madadzhe reminded the trio that they are all ex-officials of the national executive committee and should raise their views in closed ANC meetings.
The presidency also did not take the attacks lying down as The Citizen reported. Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya briefed the media at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to defend his boss.
“President Ramaphosa’s expectation of former presidents is that their presence is that of elders who are there to guide and support. Of course, they will criticise where they see fit and necessary, however, what would mostly be appreciated is constructive engagement that contributes to taking the country forward,” Magwenya continued:
“To shout at President Ramaphosa from the rooftops does not in any shape or form aid all these endeavours. At any given time, all former presidents know how to get hold of President Ramaphosa and do have that direct line and access to him should they wish to contribute constructively,” he added.
It is also reported that Ramaphosa was “applying his mind” regarding the State Capture Commission’s recommendations made against some ministers.
“There’s a process behind that… the president has to engage the concerned members of the executive.
“[He] has to independently seek a legal opinion to inform him on the veracity of the issues over and above what the commission has outlined.
“The president [also] has to apply his mind in a manner that will get into a decision that is rational, notwithstanding the fact that he is empowered by the Constitution to act in this regard,” he said.

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