ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu has lashed out at ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, accusing him of being responsible for splits in the party and questioning his struggle credentials, The Daily Dispatch reported on Monday.
Sisulu was reportedly speaking at the commemoration of Xhosa King Sarhili near Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape this weekend.
Her remarks were in response to Mantashe's perceived endorsement of Ramaphosa last week, which Sisulu said showed that he "lacked the necessary objectivity and credibility to run a democratic conference".
On Twitter, Mantashe warned that there would be a "crisis" if the ANC's succession was not managed properly. He said it was important that President Jacob Zuma hand over to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
If Pres Zuma, with experience, refuses to handover to DP, we will be in a crisis. Let us find a woman to be DP, for succession to be managed— Gwede Mantashe (@GwedeMantashe1) October 10, 2017
Sisulu reportedly said women had the necessary credentials to lead the party, saying women "saved" the ANC when its leaders were underground.
"The question is: where was he [Mantashe] when we were fighting for this freedom in exile and in jail, which he today is abusing for his personal interest? He must hand over an ANC that is intact. Under him as an SG [secretary-general] we gave birth to Cope [Congress of the People] and EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters] and fractured Cosatu -- something we never imagined," she reportedly said.
Sisulu reportedly said that Mantashe wanted Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to deputise Ramaphosa to avoid a crisis in the party.
"This merely shows his knowledge about the ANC... He imagines things. Since when are branches taking their tune from the SG? What kind of an SG is this? We have never had an SG who infringes on people's rights. He thinks we are picking a Bafana Bafana squad here."
Mantashe reportedly told The Daily Dispatch that he could not remain neutral.
"We have six NEC [national executive committee] members who all want to be president. It is the same NEC that should have held the ANC intact, but all are contesting each other," he reportedly said.