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Zuma’s offer to Motlanthe

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

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

Published Oct 4, 2012


Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s lobbyists want to offer Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe the position of president of the country after the 2014 general election in exchange for his not challenging Zuma in Mangaung.

According to three independent ANC sources, Zuma’s close allies planned to create two centres of power that would have him run the party while Motlanthe governed the country.

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In terms of the plan, Motlanthe would have a woman deputy, possibly newly elected AU Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

They said the Marikana massacre had dealt a serious blow to the possible candidacy of businessman Cyril Ramaphosa for the position of deputy president. The businessman’s R18 million buffalo saga had also complicated matters.

Sources said the Motlanthe offer was finalised at a meeting held by Zuma’s “kitchen cabinet” at the South Coast resort of Pennington in September.

It was apparently attended by the ANC’s national executive committee aligned with Zuma, including Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. Nzimande’s spokesman, Malesela Maleka, said on Wednesday night: “The general secretary of the SACP doesn’t have any knowledge of said meeting.”

ANC national spokesman Keith Khoza said Luthuli House was also not aware of such a meeting.


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The sources said the meeting had nominated a second team to persuade Motlanthe to abandon the “Anybody But Zuma” group, also known as the “Forces of Change”.

The Zuma camp hoped to capitalise on talk within ANC circles that Motlanthe was “uncomfortable” with being deputised by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale on an anti-Zuma slate. It was not clear whether the offer had been made to Motlanthe yet, but his supporters said it was unlikely that he would accept it or strike any leadership deals.

Motlanthe’s spokesman, Thabo Masebe, on Wednesday declined to comment.

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A youth leader aligned with Zuma said the ANC leader wanted Motlanthe to be retained as his deputy.

“Zuma wants to remain as ANC president and allow Kgalema to be president after 2014. Kgalema’s deputy would be a woman, Nkosazana in particular. When she comes back from the AU, she will be the most powerful woman, like Hillary Clinton,” said the source.

A well-connected ANC source, who has intimate knowledge of the outcome of the Pennington meeting, said the Zuma camp wanted Motlanthe to dump the “Anything But Zuma” group.

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“Kgalema is also not sure whether to take on Zuma. One, the numbers, and the team that is campaigning for him is in tatters. They can’t even agree on the top six,” said the source.

Motlanthe is said to have privately expressed a wish to be deputised by either ANC NEC member Joel Netshitenzhe, Dlamini Zuma or Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. If Netshitenzhe did not come in as deputy, he wanted him as secretary-general, the source added.

But a Motlanthe supporter insisted that the deputy president would challenge Zuma. He denied that Motlanthe was prepared to stand only if he was guaranteed 40 percent after the branch nomination process.

“Really, why should people speak on behalf of the deputy president [DP]? If he wants to speak, he will. He doesn’t need them to speak on his behalf. It is not for people to make offers to others, it is for branches to vote. I don’t think the DP will even entertain that,” a Motlanthe ally said.


The ANC source, who is close to Zuma’s inner circle, said Zuma wanted to act decisively “because he can’t afford to go down in history as the worst president”.

The sources added that the Zuma camp planned to fire Sexwale, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale and North West Premier Thandi Modise in a mooted cabinet reshuffle after Mangaung.

“Tokyo is gone, and so are Paul, Angie, Cassel, Thandi and Gwen Ramokgopa [deputy health minister],” he said.

The source also said Deputy Arts Minister Joe Phaahla and North West ANC chairman Supra Mahumapelo had been earmarked as replacements for Mathale and Modise.

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