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Wed Oct 22 17:25:56 SAST 2014

Motlanthe risks exile rather than serve with Zuma

Editorial | 18 December, 2012 00:00

THE ANC elective conference has, predictably, been overshadowed by the leadership race.

Policies, it appears, have been forced into the background by party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe's throwing down of the gauntlet to President Jacob Zuma.

After months of speculation that Motlanthe might be the final hurdle between Zuma and a second term as party president, the reality has finally emerged.

And it is a surprising move for Motlanthe, who had been nominated for three senior positions. Yesterday, it emerged that he had accepted only one nomination, that of party president, setting himself up for what seems to be certain defeat.

If delegates elect Zuma again, Motlanthe and his supporters, who have followed his decision to accept only one nomination, are likely to be cast adrift.

In essence, it seems they have decided that they no longer want to work under Zuma.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who has cast his lot with Motlanthe, explained his decision as being one of principle.

"I am not confident that I will win but I had to respect the nomination [as secretary-general] that came from the ANC branches. This is not about me but a principle. I am happy to have exercised my right, it was not an easy decision to stand for such an important position in the ANC. Win or lose, there is life after the elections."

But it is the quality of life after these elections that we must consider. Another term in office for Zuma - for which the delegates in Mangaung will be responsible - might just be more of the same for South Africa. Nothing Zuma or his supporters have said indicates a real commitment to change, to finding means of creating employment, to stimulate the economy and to instil a culture of morality.

The chances of Motlanthe emerging triumphant in Mangaung are slim. And so is the possibility of a leadership for this country that puts its citizens first.

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