Motlanthe looks set to play caretaker to SA

2008-09-22 00:00

ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will be South Africa’s caretaker president until elections are held in April next year. This was the strong suggestion made by party president Jacob Zuma yesterday.

Addressing a media briefing at the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House, Zuma hinted strongly that his deputy may become the president, but stopped short of confirming this.

Mbeki’s official resignation was read out in the National Assembly by speaker Baleka Mbete yesterday.

Motlanthe, who has a trade union background and is known for being a hard-working, behind-the-scenes man, is widely respected in the ruling party and known for his strong negotiating and unifying skills.

Zuma told the briefing that the party will do all in its power to ensure that stability is maintained.

In a clear hint at Motlanthe’s imminent ascendance, he continued, to confused laughter from journalists: “We have in Cabinet, many experienced ministers including the deputy president of the ANC, Comrade Kglalema Motlanthe. I am convinced that, if given that responsibility, he would be equal to the task.’’

Zuma called on all ANC ministers and deputy ministers to continue their work and to serve the people of South Africa with the support of the public service, which, he said, will not be affected by the changes.

However, by late yesterday, Essop Pahad, the Minister in the Presidency and one of Mbeki’s closest allies, as well as Azapo President and Science and Technology Minister Mosibudi Mangena had indicated that they will resign.

Zuma stressed that the ANC acknowledges and accepts the ruling of Judge Chris Nicholson in the recent case in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. ‘’We reiterate that we will always abide by the decisions of this and all courts in our country.’’

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