Question mark hangs over Motlanthe

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Independent Newspapers

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

Cape Town -

Now that the ANC’s stalled nominations process has finally been concluded, the next big question is whether those whose names have been put forward will agree to stand for election at the party’s Mangaung conference in just over a week’s time.

A big question mark hangs over the head of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and whether he will agree to go up against President Jacob Zuma for the job of party boss. Another hovers above ANC heavyweight and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, nominated to replace Motlanthe as deputy president by most of those provinces backing a second term for Zuma, bar the Northern Cape, which has named Motlanthe.

The ANC’s electoral commission is expected to approach all those nominated in the coming days to formally ask them whether or not they are prepared to stand. ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu said a statement would be issued once this was done.

In terms of ANC rules, it is only then that open campaigning can legitimately get under way, although unofficial lobbying and horse-trading has been under way for months. This leaves candidates scant time – particularly Motlanthe, whose strict adherence to the rules has painted a picture of him being almost reluctant to take on the top job.

With Limpopo and the Western Cape finally concluding fraught nominations processes on Thursday, the numbers appear to be stacked in favour of Zuma. He has been nominated by KZN (with 974 delegates), Eastern Cape (676), Mpumalanga (467), Free State (324), North West (234) and the Northern Cape (176). He has also been endorsed by the ANC Women’s League (45) and the ANC Veterans’ League, and will pick up support from some of the 82 national executive committee members and the 180 votes that will be cast by provincial ANC leaders.

Motlanthe on the other hand has been nominated by Gauteng (500), Limpopo (574) and the Western Cape (178), and has also been endorsed by the ANC Youth League (45). He too will get some support from provincial and national executive committee leaders.

With slight variations, the Zuma camp’s slate features Ramaphosa for deputy president, Baleka Mbete (chairman), Gwede Mantashe (Secretary General), Jessie Duarte (deputy SG), replacing North West premier Thandi Modise and KZN premier Zweli Mkhize as treasurer general in place of Mathews Phosa. The Free State wants its premier, Ace Magashule, as chairman and Mbete for deputy president.

Perhaps indicating that the “forces of change” are themselves divided over leadership questions, pro-Motlanthe provinces and the Youth League show more variation, with Mathews Phosa for deputy president, Fikile Mbalula as secretary-general, Thandi Modise as his deputy, Thenjiwe Mtintso as chairman and Tokyo Sexwale as treasurer-general. Gauteng has Tokyo Sexwale for deputy president, Gwede Mantashe as secretary-general, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule as his deputy and its chairman, Paul Mashatile for treasurer.

Political Bureau


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