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Johannesburg - The ANC's second-biggest region in the country, the Eastern Cape's OR Tambo, has backed Kgalema Motlanthe for the post of ANC president, SABC news reported on Wednesday.
A nomination for President Jacob Zuma, who already had the backing of the country's biggest region (eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal), would have put him firmly in the lead to retain the post of ANC leader at the party's elective congress in Mangaung next month.
Regional chairperson Thandekile Sabisa told the SABC that the party under Zuma had failed to address issues raised at the 2007 Polokwane conference.
“The use of state power, factionalism, ill-discipline, etc... This leadership has failed to address those issues. It's not credible, it's under attack and not respected by opposition parties,” he said.
“We then said that let's find leadership that will be respected by the people of South Africa and the membership of the ANC. Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe, we believe, is the one that would bring back the dignity of the organisation.
“He can't say no when the branches say 'lead us' because he knows that the organisation needs leadership of his calibre,” Sabisa told the broadcaster.
The region nominated Tokyo Sexwale as Motlanthe's deputy, and Fikile Mbalula to replace Gwede Mantashe as secretary-general.
It wanted Thandi Modise to remain deputy secretary general and Mathews Phosa to stay treasurer general. Thenjiwe Mtintso was nominated as national chairperson.
It was still not clear whether Motlanthe, the ANC's deputy president, would stand against Zuma. - Sapa
* This story was edited on November 29, 2012 to reflect that it is the ANC's OR Tambo region (and NOT the ANC's Eastern Cape province) which has come out in support of Motlanthe. We apologise for the error.