Johannesburg - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, 64, is set to be lost to active politics, after he declined nomination to return to Parliament as an ANC MP.
Highly placed sources in the government told The Star that Motlanthe has already identified welfare and policy development projects outside the government that he wants to work on after the May 7 elections.
They said he had also decided against serving another term in President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet.
“He (Motlanthe) has declined. As an MP, he serves because the ANC put him on the (previous) list. That will come to an end after the elections, when the new Parliament is inaugurated,” said a government source.
Motlanthe’s future in the government or active politics was in doubt since December 2012, when he declined nomination to serve on the ANC’s national executive committee at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung.
Another source familiar with Motlanthe’s plans added that he had already finalised his post-election plans outside the government.
“Even if he says he retires, he won’t be lost to South Africa. If he stops being an MP, he will be involved in public policy issues and other projects.”
Motlanthe’s spokesman, Thabo Masebe, declined to comment on Wednesday on claims that the deputy president had already identified welfare- and policy-related projects to work on after the elections.
He was also cagey, neither confirming nor denying that Motlanthe would not continue serving in Zuma’s cabinet.
“What they (reports) base it on is that he (Motlanthe) himself said he will prefer to retire (after the elections).
“Remember he is already a retired president and a pensioner, and so he doesn’t draw a salary as the deputy president,” Masebe said.
He was referring to Motlanthe’s previous tenure as president between September 2008 and May 2009, after the ANC recalled Thabo Mbeki.
Masebe denied that Motlanthe’s role in the government and as Zuma’s deputy was increasingly diminishing.
“He is actually taking on more responsibility and is as busy as ever. He continues to deputise for the president whenever he is away. So he is actually not scaling down,”
said Masebe, also citing Motlanthe’s role as the leader of government business and bringing stability in the strike-torn mining sector.