Bloemfontein - Reports that Kgalema Motlanthe was leaving government immediately should be treated as rumours, his spokesman Thabo Masebe said on Tuesday evening.
“I’m not aware of this, he hasn’t said anything to me,” Masebe said.
“Treat them (tweets) as rumours. For now he remains the deputy president of the republic.”
Jacaranda FM on Tuesday wrote on Twitter that reports were emerging that said “Kgalema to leave government immediately”.
Motlanthe’s career in active, high-level politics neared an end last night after he declined nomination to serve as one of the 80 additional members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC).
The NEC is the ANC’s highest decision-making structure in between conferences.
Thus Motlanthe, who remains the country’s deputy president, at least for now, is no longer a member of any leadership structure, but would serve as an ordinary member of the ANC.
His decision not to stand for the NEC follows his defeat, at the hands of President Jacob Zuma, for the ANC presidency.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said Motlanthe’s loss did not disqualify him from continuing to serve in his government position.
“There is no policy in the ANC which says that the deputy president of the ANC has to be the deputy president of the country; there is only a policy that the president of the ANC has to be president of the country,” Sihle Zikalala, the secretary of the ANC in KZN said on Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Motlanthe lost to Zuma in a bid to become party president. Motlanthe received only 991 votes to Zuma’s 2 983.
Others who declined nomination for the positions in the NEC included both Zuma’s critics and allies:
* Minister Trevor Manuel
* spokesman in the Presidency Mac Maharaj
* Free State Premier Ace Magashule
* Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim
* NUM secretary Frans Baleni
* Northern Cape ANC chairman John Block
* Western Cape ANC chairman Marius Fransman
* Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi
* North West Premier Thandi Modise and
* Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza.
Magdalene Moonsamy, a member of the ANC Youth League’s national executive and one of the main lobbyists for Motlanthe in the run-up to the Mangaung conference, said on Tuesday she believed that Motlanthe still had a lot to offer the ANC.
She said that it would be a pity if the ANC lost a leader of Motlanthe’s calibre.
“What is important now is how the ANC moves forward and forges unity. Do we move to the next 100 years as a united or divided ANC?,” she said.
For there to be unity, leaders from the faction who lost needed to be accommodated within the programmes and leadership structures of the ANC.
Asked how she felt that her preferred candidate had lost, Moonsamy said: “We now need to do what is in the best interest of the organisation.”
Voting for the 80 NEC positions was expected to start on Wednesday morning, with results expected before the conference draws to a close.