Prime minister for SA?

2012-11-24 20:04

ANC Gauteng chairperson proposes new solution to party’s leadership woes.

Should South Africa scrap the position of deputy president and replace it with prime minister?

That’s the question some senior ANC leaders are mulling over, and they want a decision to be made about it before the next general election in 2014.

The idea came from ANC Gauteng chairperson and Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, who raised it with ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal.

Jointly, the two provinces are considered to be the axis of power for the upcoming ANC elective conference in Mangaung.

The proposal frames the relationship between former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

In this case, Mbeki primarily took care of government’s administrative tasks while Mandela filled a more ceremonial role.

But for the proposal to go ahead, the Constitution would have to be amended.

This would mean getting opposition parties on board to rubber-stamp the change.

Delivering a speech at an ANC branch in Lonehill yesterday, former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni said Mandela had delegated the responsibility of running the government to Mbeki.

“We should have learnt from that and defined the role of the deputy president,” he said.

An ANC national executive committee (NEC) member, who is also an MP, said there were questions about whether the state could afford to create a prime minister position when President Jacob Zuma’s administration was already “bloated”, with two ministers serving in the presidency.

The NEC member said: “You will still have a Zuma who sits there with all his weaknesses.

“It doesn’t solve our problems. The challenge is: do we have a leader that can give leadership?”

City Press asked two ANC leaders, a DA leader and a political analyst what they thought of the creation of a prime minister post.

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