Johannesburg - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is telling lies about South Africa's economy and he must stop, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday. Mantashe said he lodged a formal complaint in a telephonic conversation with his counterpart in Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF for Mugabe to stop making "unwarranted and unfortunate attacks" on former president Nelson Mandela's legacy. He is the first South African leader to chastise Mugabe for his reported comments. Mugabe is quoted as having said Mandela cherished his personal freedom over the economic freedom of his people, which is why in South Africa, "everything is in whites' hands". "What was the most important thing for [Mandela] was his release from prison and nothing else. He cherished that freedom more than anything else and forgot why he was put in jail," Mugabe is reported to have said, in comments translated by news website NewZimbabwe.com.
The 93-year-old president was speaking in Shona at a ruling party rally in the central town of Gweru last Friday. Mantashe accused Mugabe of destroying his country's economy. "The reality of the matter is that you have destroyed the economy of your country," Mantashe said during a press conference at the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House. 'Black millionaires' He added that SA continued to "create black millionaires" as well as Zimbabwean millionaires. He dismissed Mugabe's notion that the ANC's policies have made "black South Africans paupers". He said independent research proved the ANC had created a better life for the majority of South Africans. "This has been done in a responsible manner that has not brought our economy to its knees in pursuit of adventurism and populism," Mantashe said. He said when secretary generals of the two government parties speak, it is not a picnic. He was responding to questions about whether his telephonic conversation was casual or formal. "I phoned the SG of Zanu-PF. When SGs talk they are not in a picnic. I did not raise this issue with the SG of ZANU formally in my capacity as SG of ANC and not as a friend," Mantashe said. He said ZANU-PF's secretary general said he would do "his homework" and get back to him.