If the ANC in Gauteng has its way, former president Kgalema Motlanthe could become both the party’s and country’s president.
Party leaders in the province are mulling over the idea of officially endorsing Motlanthe to take over from President Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s elective conference in December.
The ANC in Gauteng is to hold its one-day provincial executive committee meeting in Johannesburg on Friday.
This latest development is a blow to Cyril Ramaphosa, who was not the province’s choice for deputy president at the ANC’s Mangaung conference in December 2012.
A Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) member told The Citizen on Tuesday that the province’s concerns were that Ramaphosa is part of the collective that has failed the ANC.
But the PEC member said some senior party leaders were allegedly leading the CR17 campaign to deliver Ramaphosa as the next ANC leader.
ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile has openly declared his support for Ramaphosa.
Another member said Motlanthe is seen as the only credible leader who would be able to unite the ANC.
“He is the champion of the turnaround programme in the ANC,” said the member.
“Motlanthe would be able to unite factions because the elective conference is going to fragment the ANC further.
“He is an alternative and discussions were continuing.”
It is not clear if Motlanthe, who is in charge of the political education in the ANC, will enter the leadership race because he recently told a radio station that he was not keen to stand for the ANC presidency.
Approached for comment yesterday, ANC Gauteng spokesperson Nkenke Kekana said the party’s succession debate was not yet opened.
“Speculations are not going to help,” Kekana would only say.
Even though Gauteng is not the largest ANC province, it plays important roles in the party’s succession battles. In the build-up to the Mangaung conference in 2012 the province supported Motlanthe in his failed bid to unseat Zuma.
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the province wants young leaders to form part of the ANC top six.
“We are not going to be afraid and massage anybody in our push for young leaders to form part of the ANC leadership,” said league Gauteng chairperson Matome Chiloane.
The ANCYL is expected to have a position on who the league is backing to replace Zuma after its national executive committee meeting, which is to be held in Irene, outside Pretoria, this weekend.