Sexwale backs out of race

2012-09-10 00:00

HUMAN Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has backed out of the race for ANC president — for now.

Sexwale refused to comment this week, but his supporters in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape told our sister paper City Press they had reached a “compromise” with supporters of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

As part of this deal, Motlanthe would, as presidential nominee, top the list of leaders put forward by the “forces of change” group wanting to see President Jacob Zuma replaced at the ANC’s conference in Mangaung in December this year.

Sexwale would stand as his deputy.

But an Eastern Cape lobbyist said only Motlanthe’s position was agreed on, and that the group differed over who to put up in the key position of party secretary-general.

Some want to retain Gwede Mantashe in the position, Gauteng wants national executive committee member Joel Netshitenzhe, while ANC Youth League lobbyists want Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Almost all the key lobbyists in the “pro-change” group, which comprises regional and provincial leaders, met in Johannesburg on Wednesday night to try to agree on a candidate list.

The group is set to continue discussions this week.

A Sexwale lobbyist said Sexwale’s supporters reluctantly agreed to back Motlanthe because it would give them a better chance of defeating Zuma.

The lobbyist said Motlanthe has already told two Gauteng leaders he would not stand if his name is on a slate.

“If Motlanthe is going to that conference [Mangaung] and think that he will surprise us [by supporting the status quo], we will push Tokyo Sexwale as president,” he said.

As a “safety measure” Sexwale’s supporters want him to be on the nominations list of all the provinces.

A Sexwale aide confirmed that Sexwale has stepped back.

But a Gauteng lobbyist denied the camp was weakened by divisions. “We had 14 names (for the top six positions), and it is now down to eight. It is not a problem if we nominate different people for these positions, as long as we have fixed on the presidency. We want to get away from the slate approach. What we are gunning for is a broad consensus for change,” he said.

The pro-change lobby claims to have support in the leadership of all provinces, but admits to being weaker in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Mpumalanga.

ANC branches have this month started discussing who they want to see nominated for leadership positions, ahead of the start of the party’s nominations process in October.

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