Rumour mill grinds in tense ANC

2008-12-21 00:00

TENSION is building in the ANC ahead of next year’s elections.

It is whispered that some ANC leaders are sharpening their knives for SACP secretary-general, Blade Nzimande, while others say it is Nzimande who is gunning for President Kgalema Motlanthe, with whom he differs on some issues.

Independent Group papers reported yesterday that Nzimande is part of an ANC clique that believes Motlanthe has ambitions to retain his position after the election. It is rumoured that Nzimande was to spread gossip about Motlanthe’s personal life to derail him.

SACP spokesman Malesela Maleka said yesterday these are just malicious stories, although he declined to say where they came from.

“It is an ongoing campaign to sow division between the ANC leadership and the alliance partners,” he said.

Beeld has learnt from a reliable source that at a recent meeting of the ANC national working committee, Motlanthe and Nzimande deadlocked over the SABC board. Nzimande apparently said the board should be immediately dismissed, something that only Motlanthe is empowered to effect.

There is also unhappiness among supporters of ANC president Jacob Zuma over Motlanthe’s tardiness in withdrawing the cabinet appeal against Judge Chris Nicholson’s finding in the Zuma case that ministers interfered politically in the corruption case.

An SMS that did the rounds among ANC members last week, signed “the alliance”, was, according to Maleka, an attempt to insinuate that Nzimande is “scheming and ambitious”.

The SMS begins: “Comrades, this serves to confirm that after 2009, cde JZ will definitely be president, Blade Nzimande for deputy”.

It continues that Deputy President Baleka Mbete will be minister in the Presidency, Motlanthe minister of Economic Development (a new portfolio), former ANC youth leader Fikile Mbalula minister of Education, KZN Finance MEC Zweli Mkhize minister of Health, former Limpopo premier Ngoako Ramathlodi Welfare minister, ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa Finance minister, deputy SACP secretary-general Jeremy Cronin Transport minister, Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi Labour minister and that Enver Surty will remain at justice.

It says other ministeries are still under discussion.

It concludes: “Kgalema is unhappy but he will have to accept or jump to [Cope leaders] Terror-Shilowa”.

All those mentioned are Zuma confidants.

Discussions on cabinet posts are supposed to take place next month, when the ANC finalises its poll list.

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