WATCH | Gwede Mantashe contradicts Ramaphosa: 'nine wasted years is a myth'
ANC chair Gwede Mantashe has disputed claims that the years under former president Jacob Zuma were wasted years, contradicting earlier utterances by current president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa spoke of "nine lost years" on the campaign trail and at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. The sentiment was later shared by finance minister Tito Mboweni who said the Zuma years were "wasted".
Zuma hit back at the claims shortly after they were made and Ramaphosa later said the ANC had "moved SA forward in a meaningful way" over the past few years.
Speaking at a rally in the Northern Cape at the weekend Gwede once again addressed the issue and called the nine wasted years idea "a myth".
"The nine wasted years are a myth. Over the past nine years, it was under the leadership of president Jacob Zuma that there was a stronger focus on education. We split education into basic education and higher education, and that focus improved our performance.
"We must tick that is not wasted. Access to ARVs, a war against HIV/Aids was intensified under this leadership. We can list them: health, education, agriculture. You can say the past four years were difficult. That problem is what we call a desert in the journey and we'll never destroy ourselves because of what we call a patch of a desert."
"9 WASTED YEARS" IS A MYTH— Gwede Mantashe (@GwedeMantashe1) March 25, 2019
In the past 9 years, there was a stronger focus on Education, war against HIV/AIDS, Agriculture & Rural Development. The last 4 years, were difficult. We must be honest in our analyses.
We must put all our energy in improving our society. #VoteANC pic.twitter.com/BxB8VzV182
Mantashe then slammed those in the ANC for doing what he had just done - contradicting each other in public.
"It cannot be healthy for leaders of the ANC in different platforms to make different announcements on the same issues. We must address that issue at all levels. We must put our shoulders to the wheel to solve problems facing our country," he said.
It cannot be healthy for leaders of the ANC in different platforms to make different announcements on same issues. We must address that issue at all levels. We must put our shoulders on the wheel to solve problems facing our country. #VoteANC #GrowSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/RY4oUk0CRR— Gwede Mantashe (@GwedeMantashe1) March 25, 2019
Social media users were quick to point out the "irony" of the statement.