South African President Jacob Zuma with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the ruling ANC policy conference in Mangaung. The party discussed economic reforms related to land control and mining., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Zuma versus Motlanthe in Mangaung?
Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00
JOHANNESBURG — The African National Congress (ANC) is set for a senior leadership tussle in Mangaung next week, with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe taking on President Jacob Zuma for the party’s top position.
Thabo Masebe, spokesman for Motlanthe, confirmed yesterday that the politician had accepted a nomination to run for the position.
“He has informed the electoral commission that he will be accepting for all three positions he was nominated for. That is the president, the deputy-president and an additional member (of the national executive committee),” Masebe told AFP.
Motlanthe was nominated by three ANC provinces — Gauteng, the Western Cape and Limpopo — as well as the ANC Youth League to replace Zuma, who already has strong support within the party to retain his position.
In a wide-ranging interview with Business Day last month, Motlanthe emphasised party principles and said he would not be part of pre-conference wheeling and dealing on leadership, as that took power away from the branches, which should be allowed to express their will without interference.
Becoming leader of the ANC means a nearly automatic ticket to becoming the president of South Africa.
Motlanthe’s official confirmation ends months of speculation over his candidature for the party’s top job to be decided at its conference starting on Sunday. Around 4 500 senior ANC members will gather in Bloemfontein to select the party leader.
The acceptance of his nominations will also provide an opportunity for businessman Cyril Ramaphosa to stand for deputy president against Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sexwale.
In a separate development, the ANC electoral commission said yesterday that the announcement of candidates to stand for election at Mangaung would not be made until all the nominees had officially responded.
“We are only go(ing) to announce those who have accepted the nominations when we have finished the process of screening the candidates and know whether they accept or decline,” said ANC electoral commission member Tshilidzi Ratshitanga.
He said that the process of finalising the nominations, including getting responses from nominated candidates about whether they would accept their nominations, had not yet been completed.
“We will give candidates as much time as possible to consider their options.
This is a dynamic process of electing the ANC, we can’t rush it. If we rush it for the convenience of the media we will be short-circuiting it,” he said.
“We really cannot rush this process, because we will be doing a disservice to an important process of the ANC.”
He said once a list was compiled, it would first be distributed to ANC branches before being announced to the media.
“We cannot announce that at a press conference, we have to announce it to the branches first,” Ratshitanga said.
However, the process could continue into the conference as delegates could nominate candidates from the floor.
If a floor nomination receives 25% of the support of the delegates, and is accepted by the nominee, it will be added to the ballot. — Sapa/AP/HR.