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Fri Oct 31 06:49:31 SAST 2014

Motlanthe must retain his position: delegates

OLEBOGENG MOLATLHWA | 19 December, 2012 00:05
President Jacob Zuma (L) speaks with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at start of the 53rd National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Bloemfontein, December 16, 2012.
Image by: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS

DEPUTY president Kgalema Motlanthe's position in the government hangs in the balance as party members debate whether to elect him back onto the ANC's national executive committee.

Minutes after the ANC elective conference yesterday announced that Motlanthe had lost to incumbent President Jacob Zuma for the top post, delegates expressed mixed feelings about Motlanthe's future.

Delegates interviewed by The Times from Eastern Cape, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng said Motlanthe should be allowed to continue with his job as country's deputy president.

The delegates cautioned against the immediate removal of Motlanthe in favour of newly elected ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

They argued that the move would be viewed as a sign of triumphalism and would further divide the party.

Gauteng delegate Thulani Mphithekezi said those calling for Motlanthe's head should remember the resolutions taken at the party's 2002 conference in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.

"The resolution at Stellenbosch was that the president of the ANC should then be [elected] the state president. That [resolution] does not have implications for the deputy president," he said.

KwaZulu-Natal delegate and Ilembe District Municipality mayor Sibusiso Mdabe said Motlanthe "has a role to play in the government".

He blamed Motlanthe's defeat on the forces of change group, that led his election campaign, saying they were unable to sell "whatever position they had to delegates".

"We don't want divisions. [Cyril Ramaphosa] will eventually become deputy president of the country [in 2014], so comrades must exercise patience," said Mpho Madubje of the Waterberg region in Limpopo.

"What we want is unity."

"It would be unbecoming [to remove Motlanthe from his position] because this outcome does not stop his term," Mandla Mapongwana of the Eastern Cape.

The ANC is yet to pronounce on Motlanthe's fate.

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