DEPUTY President Kgalema Motlanthe withdrew from the race for the ANC deputy presidency because he did not want to serve under President Jacob Zuma, or contest his supporters – ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, said his lobbyists.
Three independent sources told The Star yesterday that Motlanthe also wanted to give businessman Cyril Ramaphosa an opportunity to contest for the same position, after both politicians reached a gentlemen’s agreement at their one- on-one meeting in Bloemfontein on Saturday night.
This came after Ramaphosa apparently insisted again at the meeting that he would withdraw from the race, and dump the Zuma camp, rather than contest Motlanthe.
He cited their close relations, according to sources.
Motlanthe’s withdrawal came as Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula all but conceded defeat to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, saying he was not confident he would depose his rival.
Motlanthe, who had accepted nomination for three positions – president, deputy and national executive committee (NEC) member – took many by surprise when he suddenly withdrew from the race for the deputy presidency, on the second day of the ANC’s Mangaung national elective conference yesterday.
He gave no reasons.
But his supporters said there was a litany of reasons behind his decision.
A Limpopo regional leader, who supported Motlanthe, said there was a trade-off between Motlanthe and Ramaphosa triggered by the businessman’s insistence that he would not challenge his former National Union of Mineworkers colleague.
“Between Cyril and Kgalema, they met here in Bloemfontein and discussed the matter.
“There was an agreement that Kgalema will not contest for the deputy presidency.
“Remember, Kgalema has no problem with Cyril.
“They have a good relationship,” said the Limpopo lobbyist.
He said the “problem” was now between Phosa and Sexwale, adding that they “can’t win, if you check the numbers”.
Another Motlanthe lobbyist said the politician stepped aside because he did not want to contest Phosa and Sexwale.
“You can’t contest the same people from your camp. He also could not work with Zuma any more.
“He tolerated the torture for five years – when you work under somebody who has no moral compass, who goes around sleeping with children of his friends and uses public funds on Nkandla, and allows Nathi Mthethwa (Police Minister) to use money from the slush fund to build a wall at his house,” the source said.