SA ANC calls for end to “street fights”


South Africa‘s ruling African National Congress called yesterday for an end to “street fights” after its youth movement criticized senior leaders who are also members of allied parties.

The ANC Youth League, which last year clashed with the South African Communist Party (SACP), has called for leaders to not have membership of different parties within the alliance, and demanded that ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe step down.

Mantashe, who is also chairman of the SACP, said the ANC leaders had, at a three-day policy meeting, called for “street fights” to end, and shrugged off the attacks against him.

“So whether the youth league moves against me or not is neither here nor there,” he told reporters.

“The leaders of this movement must never get into a street fight. We are not going to join this street fight.”

 Mantashe said the weekend meeting affirmed that the ANC was the “centre of power” and called on members to act in a manner “befitting revolutionaries”.

“The alliance is as strong as ever,” he said.

The party met ahead of a cabinet planning meeting that starts on Thursday to set the government’s programme for 2010.

The ANC’s alliance with trade union federation COSATU and the communist party has come under strain amid jostling for power. Left-wing leaders like Mantashe want more influence over economic policy and a shift away from previously conservative policies, including inflation targeting.