President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe File photo: Bongiwe Mchunu.

Johannesburg - It does not matter who wins in Mangaung, things will remain the same, people in and around Johannesburg said on Wednesday.

In Soweto, most residents believed the African National Congress' national conference in Mangaung next week would not change the problems they faced every day.

“It does not matter. Even if it is (Deputy President Kgalema) Motlanthe who is elected (as president of the ANC), we will still face the same problems we are facing today,” said Bon Mabasa.

“The people who will be electing will not be thinking about us. Actually I don't care,” he said.

Mabasa said President Jacob Zuma would retain his position as the president of the ANC.

“The people around him are trying to make us believe that he (Zuma) is the right president for us. They are doing this because they know they want to gain something from him,” he said.

Martin Nyembo, 28, a car guard at Maponya Mall, said the country was failing because of Zuma.

“I need another president in the ANC. If you are the president you are supposed to think about people, and Zuma is not doing that,” he said.

“There are just too many problems in the country, and we need to change everything.”

A woman selling pots at the mall said she could not talk about the ANC because she was not a “politician”.

“I don't know about all these things. I don't know about Mangaung,” said the woman, who asked not to be named.

Shopper Kenneth Ditibane, 50, said it would be good for the country to have a new president.

“Let them elect Motlanthe. He is educated and is better than Zuma.”

Emmanuel Inanga, 28, a student at the Vaal University of Technology, who is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the ANC-led government needed to change.

“I am no fan of Zuma. When Zuma came, everything went wrong. Things were better with (former president Thabo) Mbeki,” he said.

“If I was South African, I would vote for the DA (Democratic Alliance).”

Bongane Ngcobo, a 32-year-old unemployed man, said: “It doesn't make a difference to my life who is elected as ANC president.”

In Sandton, people were hesitant to talk about the conference, because they were not interested in it and felt it would not affect their lives in any way.

However, a woman who initially declined to comment when asked her opinion on the state of the country later turned around and said: “It's bad. The country is bad. That is all you need to know.”

Another said: “I don't give a damn about Mangaung.”

Both asked not to be named.

Thingahangawi Makhado, a 21-year-old business management student, said: “Honestly, I don't care much 1/8about Mangaung 3/8, but I think President Jacob Zuma is going to win because a lot of people support him.”

He was not excited about the ANC elective conference and was “only interested in the outcome”.

Daleen Viljoen, a 39-year-old administration clerk at a public school, said she was not into politics, but had views about the future of the ANC.

“If we look at what has happened over the last year, with all the unrest, things are not so positive,” she said.

“It's time for a new growth path for South Africa. Change would be good.”

On the West Rand, Mandla Mngomezulu, who works as a merchandiser at Westgate Mall, said he had faith in Zuma.

“The right president is the same one ruling the country now. Motlanthe is too soft.

“There is no other man who can take this position... let's give Zuma another five years. Cyril 1/8Ramaphosa 3/8 can be a deputy president,” he said.

An unnamed man at the entrance to the mall said: “I don't have anything to say. F**k the ANC.”

The conference is scheduled to begin in Mangaung on Sunday.

The party will choose its leaders, and will decide on policies on its internal structure, its future as a political party, the country's economy, nationalisation of mines, and land reform. - Sapa