Potchefstroom -A possible ANC leadership battle was forgotten on Thursday as Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe praised President Jacob Zuma as a good example of a leader.
“President Jacob Zuma's life is exemplary of how positive thinking thrives against all odds,” he said in Potchefstroom on Thursday.
Motlanthe sketched for party members how Zuma rose from a poor background into a respected leader. He was speaking at a lecture in honour of Zuma, as part of the African National Congress's centenary celebration.
Motlanthe is so far the only possible challenger to Zuma's leadership of the ANC at the party's elective conference in Mangaung later this month.
He had been nominated by three provinces, but still had to indicate whether he would stand for the position.
In his lecture on Thursday, Motlanthe said Zuma was a self-taught man. He had little education and learned from ANC stalwarts during his 10-year sentence on Robben Island.
After his release in 1973, Zuma was involved in building underground leadership, said Motlanthe.
“He was responsible for recruiting young people for military training, arranging their safe passage to Mozambique and back into the country.”
Zuma was instrumental in the negotiations that gave birth to democracy and help end political violence in his home province, KwaZulu-Natal.
“These ‘negotiating’ skills also served well when former president Nelson Mandela requested his assistance in Burundi peace mediation, which ended in a landmark peace agreement in 2002.”
Motlanthe praised Zuma for his sterling job as president of South Africa by winning the fight against Aids and TB and introducing new ways of governance.
“His mantra is that government should do things differently.”
Earlier, Zuma's daughter Thuthukile praised her father as a humble yet intelligent person.
“His only motivation is to serve his people... He is the glue that holds our family together,” she said.
After Motlanthe's address delegates, led by provincial ANC chairman Supra Mahumapelo, sang songs expressing support for Zuma's second term as ANC president. - Sapa