Mbete distances herself from report that she has entered ANC leadership race

2017-01-17 21:05
President Jacob Zuma and Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Foto24

President Jacob Zuma and Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Foto24

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Cape Town - ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete has distanced herself from media reports that she has entered the race to succeed President Jacob Zuma as party president.

Mbete appeared to be the third high-profile figure to throw her hat into the succession ring after a Sunday Times report said she had been "approached" by a number of NEC members to run.

However, the current Speaker of Parliament told 702 Radio on Tuesday that she had not "raised her hand" publicly for the position, because she was not yet allowed to do so.

She said the ANC's national working committee had decided this week that leadership pronouncements were premature and needed to be stopped.

"We cannot have discussion on air about a process that has not been sanctioned [yet] by the ANC," she told the radio station.

"The ANC has not opened discussion for people to say things in detail about these matters."

The Sunday Times report said that Mbete had "agonised for a long time" after being approached, and had decided to make herself available for the job.

Mbete admitted that she had been approached to run, but it was not yet time for her to announce her intentions publicly.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and outgoing AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are the other high profile names linked to the contest for the top job.

Ramaphosa said in 2016 that he was "available to stand" as party president, and has been endorsed by Cosatu.

The ANC Women's League, meanwhile, formally backed Dlamini-Zuma following its first NEC meeting earlier this month, saying she was the "only suitable candidate" at this point to be the party's first female president.

Mbete said she was not disappointed by the ANC Women's League formal endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma, but was "surprised".

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  nkosazana ­dlamini zuma  |  baleka mbete  |  politics 2017

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