ANC President Jacob Zuma, Deputy Kgalema Motlanthe and treasurer-general Mathews Phosa. Picture: Gallo Images
Siyabonga Mkhwanazi and Warren Mabona
The clearest sign yet on whether Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will take on President Jacob Zuma for the ANC’s top job emerged yesterday. This follows confirmation by the party’s treasurer-general, Mathews Phosa, that he had accepted a nomination for the position of deputy president.
With Phosa confirming that he had accepted the nomination, it leaves Motlanthe open to challenge Zuma. On the other hand, Phosa will take on national executive committee (NEC) member and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa.
Phosa, who forms part of the Motlanthe slate, confirmed his acceptance of the nomination with The New Age.
“Yes, I accepted the nomination to contest the position of ANC deputy presidency in line with the wishes of the branches,” he said.
Phosa was nominated by Motlanthe supporters in the Western Cape and Limpopo. The ANC Youth League also nominated him for the same position while Gauteng gave Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale the nod.
Motlanthe’s spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, declined to comment.
Masebe said the ANC’s electoral commission would make an announcement today on the candidates contesting for positions.
ANC insiders also told The New Age that Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula had accepted a nomination for the position of secretary-general, now held by Gwede Mantashe.
Both Ramaphosa and Mbalula and could not be reached for comment.
Supporters of both Zuma and Motlanthe have been lobbying for their candidates in the last few months.
Sources close to the ANC inner circle also told The New Age that despite the imminent announcement by Motlanthe that he would challenge for the top post, he might have left it too late to mount a serious challenge.
“The rejection of a deal and the olive branch extended by Zuma might also cost him dearly,” said the sources.