Plot to oust Zuma 'a blue lie' - Mkhize
Skhumbuzo Miya, The Witness
Durban - The leader of the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal, Premier Zweli Mkhize, has dismissed as "blue and scurrilous lies" media reports that he is part of a plot to oust President Jacob Zuma as the leader of the ANC.
In a report the Sunday Independent named Mkhize, a well-known Zuma ally and his personal friend, as well as other top ANC leaders, as bein gpart of a plot to oust Zuma from being the president of the ruling party and replace him with ANC national executive committee (NEC) member and Human Settlement Minister Tokyo Sexwale at its 2012 elective conference.
Among the alleged plotters named by the newspaper are former Zuma backers Sexwale; ANC treasurer general Matthews Phosa, ANC policy head and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, national police commissioner General Bheki Cele and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
Other ANC NEC leaders who were named were Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Tony Yengeni, ANC Gauteng leader Paul Mashatile, Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale and ANC deputy secretary general and North West Premier Thandi Modise.
Addressing an ANC election manifesto launch rally, held at Adams Mission outside Durban on Sunday, an angry Mkhize deviated from his prepared speech to deny the report.
"There is no way we could plot to remove Zuma. We worked hard for him to be there.That’s a blue lie, scurrilous lies.
There by popular demand
"Even if people were dreaming that Msholozi [Zuma’s clan name] had been removed, when they wake up they will find him still in charge.
"He is there by popular demand. There cannot be such a plot against Msholozi," Mkhize said to rapturous applause.
Mkhize said the report was clearly the work of information peddlers and that he found it worrying because it seems that among the people involved in compiling the report are people who are employed within some state organs.
At a media briefing after the address, Mkhize said he first learnt about the plot from Sunday's newspaper report. He emphasised there is no threat to remove Zuma at the ANC 2012 conference.
He said there was no way that the leaders named in the report could be involved in such unscrupulous activities.
"The ANC leadership has not opened discussion on the change of leadership during the 2012 conference. When the time is right to put that issue on the table, we will do that without any problem. There is nothing to fear on the succession debates.
"This is a destructive piece of misinformation," Mkhize said.
Regarding Sexwale’s frequent visits to the province, Mkhize said Sexwale is the ANC NEC convenor for KZN and regularly meets ANC leaders in the province.
The newspaper said a meeting was held earlier this year in Estcourt at which details about the alleged plot were discussed.
Mkhize said the Estcourt meeting was a public meeting held to discuss the ANC January 8 Statement, which proceeded as discussed.
He said he first learned about the plot from the newspaper report, which claims as its source a 22-page document that allegedly emanated from a covert intelligence investigation into Cele.
The report said that among the ANC leaders targeted for removal at the ANC 2012 conference are secretary general Gwede Mantashe; NEC member Blade Nzimande; and the KZN deputy provincial chairperson and MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, Willies Mchunu.
Sexwale, who was in the race for ANC presidency during the pre-Polokwane conference in 2007, is touted as the next president of the party with Mkhize as his deputy.