Bloemfontein - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Thursday sought to quash rumours suggesting South African deputy president Kgalema Mothlanthe is set to be recalled by the party from his position in government. Motlanthe lost out to Cyril Rampahosa for the position of deputy president of the ANC on Tuesday and since then speculation has been rife about his future.
“We have not anointed Ramaphosa prime minister of the republic,” Mantashe said, speaking to media on the final day of the party’s national conference in Mangaung.
Mantashe added that the ANC had no plans to restructure government to create a prime minister position. “As we said before the debate about the prime minister is a dead debate because the deputy president of the republic is the de facto prime minister,” Mantashe said.
He argued that the ANC constitution did not stipulate the party’s deputy president must hold the same position in government. “There is no rule that says the deputy president of the ANC must be the deputy president of the country.”
He said the ANC had no plans to remove Motlanthe from the position he holds in government, pointing out that such a move would require Ramaphosa to be added onto the party’s parliamentary list.
“The list can only be amended annually,” Mantashe said. “We have no plans to amend the list.”
“We are not electing MPs here. We are electing the [ANC NEC] here,” he added.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu also commented on this issue, saying the deputy president was deployed to government until 2014. “There is no change to the matter from the ANC side,” he said.
Mantashe rebuffed suggestions that Motlanthe’s rejection of a position on the party’s national executive committee (NEC) amounted to the conclusion of his political career.
“You don’t participate in active politics just because you’re in the NEC,” he said. Mantashe said Motlanthe still had a future in the ANC as he has “many skills and a lot to offer the party”.
According to Mthembu, Motlanthe laughed off rumours of his departure of government saying, “Where do they got these stories?”. - Newsfire