Rumours of a third term for Zuma far from reality – Mantashe

2017-01-08 10:30
Gwede Mantashe (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Gwede Mantashe (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – ANC secretary General Gwede Mantashe has thrown cold water on rumours of a possible third term for President Jacob Zuma.

“It’s a real rumour,” said Mantashe.

He was sharing his opinion on the matter at the sidelines of the ANC fundraising gala dinner held in Sandton on Saturday.

Speculation has been rife since EFF leader Julius Malema posted a tweet on Friday warning of a looming third term.

“#3rdTermLoading mmmmm my lips are sealed but don’t say I didn’t warn you South Africa…” read the tweet.

Although the EFF leader did not elaborate on his post, many concluded that he meant Zuma would seek re-election at the ANC’s 54th elective conference, which is set to take place in December 2017.

Mantashe insisted that the comments had no merit.

“I don’t want to talk about rumours, I don’t think that will be a reality,” he said.

The ANC SG also said he believed the media would obsess over the issue until it appeared to be real.


Political analyst Ralph Mathekga was not as fast to dismiss the debate of a third term, telling News24 that some within the party were already saying the president was so popular within the branches that he could not only try for a third term, but may even succeed.

“Malema’s comments throw a spanner in the works,” said Mathekga

The mere fact that its being discussed means we have given up on Zuma’s exit before even December or even 2019, he said.

Mathekga said Zuma needed a trusted ally to succeed him because of his pending legal woes including the 783 corruption charges or he needed to stay in power within the party to extend his authority to his successor in government.

“It appears he can’t even trust anyone, hence he might want a third term."

Mathekga said one would think the president could trust those who had sided with him, or even outgoing African Union chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but that did not seem to be the case.


In 2007 former President Thabo Mbeki attempted to run for the third time but lost to Zuma at the party's Polokwane elective conference. Zuma is seen to still have influence through his allies.

“Zuma only talks about his plans after initiating something on the ground, always making sure the leg work is done,” said Mathekga.

Mathekga also said the president, as the incumbent, was in an ideal situation to take chance at a run for the third time.

“Just build a strong power base in the party, make sure anyone who steps out of line can be beaten through party processes,” he explained.

He said the president would need to make sure his allies were in control and that the secretary general was in line.

However, warned Mathekga, a Zuma third term would not be accepted by the majority of South Africans and could see the party suffer at the 2019 general elections.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  gwede mantashe  |  politics

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