Motlanthe book not linked to Mangaung - author

2012-10-11 20:39
Kgalema Motlanthe biography

Kgalema Motlanthe biography

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Johannesburg - The timing of the launch of a biography of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe had nothing to do with Mangaung, author and former unionist Ebrahim Harvey said on Thursday.

"There were numerous delays getting the book out and [these have] nothing to do with Mangaung," Harvey said in Johannesburg.

"It comes in the midst of the biggest social crisis in South Africa.... This is more important than this Mangaung mania."

The African National Congress holds its national elective conference in Mangaung in December.

There have been calls from some ANC provincial branches that Motlanthe be elected president of the party instead of President Jacob Zuma, who will be running for a second term.

Harvey was talking at the launch of his book Kgalema Motlanthe, a political biography at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He said he spent almost 200 hours with Motlanthe over three years gathering information for the book, which was the "best bank of information on the ANC".

Motlanthe's openness during this time showed he had nothing to hide.

"The man is truly a biographer's delight," said Harvey.

Motlanthe was welcomed with cheers on his arrival at the university's Great Hall.

Earlier, ANC members wanting change sang songs in support of the deputy president.

Surprised

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said he was surprised Motlanthe agreed to have the book written.

"I had serious doubts that you'd agree to having a book written," Mantashe told him.

"Humility and public office don't go hand-in-hand.... You can't be media shy," he said.

Motlanthe has a reputation for being media shy, private and sometimes even secretive.

Mantashe said South Africa had been deprived of access to Motlanthe's wisdom, which the book would change.

He felt that the book's one controversial issue was the disciplining of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

He disagreed with Motlanthe's published view that the ANC should have found a political solution to the problem.

"However, once decisions are taken they [are] binding on everyone," said Mantashe.

"Let's open this [debate on Malema's disciplinary] after Mangaung, when people will debate more rationally."

The book launch was attended by ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.

Human rights lawyer George Bizos and ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada were also there.

- SAPA

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