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Mon Sep 01 09:39:53 SAST 2014

Roof falls in on Zuma

SIBUSISO NGALWA | 05 November, 2012 00:04
South African President Jacob Zuma
Image by: Liza van Deventer / Gallo Images

President Jacob Zuma had to abandon an event in Eastern Cape after a section of the marquee he was in collapsed.

This was Zuma's third visit to the province in a week as the ANC presidency race ahead of Mangaung hots up.

The pillars holding the giant white marquee up gave in as heavy rains and strong winds battered the structure, making it collapse just behind Zuma.

Zuma's visit to Lotana, where the amaMpondomise celebrated their heritage, was significant because the area is part ofMhlontlo, where the Anyone But Zuma lobby is strongest within the highly contested OR Tambo region.

Zuma was invited by the Mpondomise royal council and was accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, Eastern Cape ANC chairman Phumulo Masualle and cooperative governance MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane.

Zuma left witthout speaking to the locals.

His visit was a day after his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe - touted as a challenger to Zuma for the party presidency next month - attended a rally organised by the ANC Youth League in Bizana, the birthplace of late ANC president OR Tambo.

The rally was clearly the launch of the Motlanthe campaign as several speakers urged him to save the ANC.

But no one was more explicit than youth league deputy president Ronald Lamola, who said Motlanthe was the only hope for the ANC.

Also throwing their weight behind Motlanthe, and present at the Bizana rally, were ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile and Tambo's daughter, Tselane.

Motlanthe gave his clearest indication yet that he would stand if the membership of the ANC wanted him to do so, but he made it clear that he would not be party to a leadership slate compiled by lobby groups.

"If you are a product of a slate, the compiler will call you from time to time to say: 'Remember, we put you there.'

"You can't be led by somebody who doesn't enjoy the support of the membership," he said.

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Mon Sep 01 09:39:53 SAST 2014 ::