'Surround me with strong leaders and I will throw my hat in' - Phosa on Presidential race

2017-05-11 22:41
Mathews Phosa (File, Netwerk24)

Mathews Phosa (File, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Former ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa says he is willing to throw his hat in the ring for the presidential race but will only do so if he is supported by strong, incorruptible leaders.

“When the nomination opens up and I’m nominated I will throw my hat in the ring,” Phosa said on Thursday.

He was speaking to reporters after delivering a keynote address at an exhibition titled “Promises and Lies: The ANC, Exile and the Project of Freedom” at the University of Johannesburg.

Last month, the ANC’S ward 52 in Langa, Cape Town had announced their intention to nominate Phosa for President in the upcoming national policy conference in June. Phosa accepted the premature nomination on condition that he was supported by leaders who shared similar values as he did.

“I said yes I will accept, but I would like you to surround me with very strong leaders who are not corrupt, who believe in the Freedom Charter, who believe in our Constitution, who believe in one nation, who believe in reconciling our people, who believe in defining ourselves not at the standard of the enemy but at the standard of the responsible South Africans both black and white,” he said on Thursday.

Fresh leadership needed

The ANC was in need of fresh political and economic leadership if it wanted to grow its economy and create jobs, he said.

“We mustn’t come with some rhetoric which says ‘I will steal your shares then I will be empowered’, that doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.

If the party did not act soon, it would be left weakened and sitting at “rock bottom”.

“If we don’t change course now, immediately, the ANC will reach rock bottom and before we realise it, in 2019, the ANC will be such a weak party.”

There were two possible scenarios that the party would find itself in after the elections, he said.

The first being - winning the 2019 elections by the skin of its teeth if it continued with its “narrow-minded” approach or the second being – entering into a coalition, he said.

Entering into a coalition would prove tricky if the ANC did not hold the dominant numbers, he added.

“Depending on our strength at that time it could either be a dominant power in the coalition or it could be an irrelevant pipsqueak.

“We must take the right decision in the next three months, then we can define that future together. If we are going to walk into December without addressing these issues, we are taking the ANC to its political funeral,” he said.

Vicious smears

The race towards the party’s annual conference in December was already starting to show some vicious smear tactics, which he said he would not entertain, were he to run.

“It will be a vicious fight [to the December conference],” he said.

“Already people are plotting and planning on how to smear one another. I don’t want to stoop so low but I can see it coming.

“Others think they will survive by smearing Cyril or smearing [Dlamini-Zuma]. I think it’s a low level of political practice. We must put the issues on the table which confront the nation,” he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  mathews phosa  |  politics

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