Baleka Mbete says she’s not a ‘Zuma person’

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – APRIL 02: National Assembly Speaker; Baleka Mbete addresses the media regarding the motion of no confidence against Jacob Zuma request at the OR Tambo International Airport on April 02, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele)

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – APRIL 02: National Assembly Speaker; Baleka Mbete addresses the media regarding the motion of no confidence against Jacob Zuma request at the OR Tambo International Airport on April 02, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele)

Mbete has taken exception to the perception that she is President Zuma’s protector.

Presidential candidate and ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete has rubbished claims that she is part of President Jacob Zuma’s camp in the ruling party, saying the claims are unfounded and unfair as she was not a “Zuma person”.

Mbete, who’s also the speaker of parliament, has told City Press she wanted to put it on record that she was not owned or controlled by anyone.

“My approach has always been to consult politically and legally and balance any decision-making process with the political mandate and ultimately decide in the best interest of the majority in our country,” Mbete said.

“I regret that there could be people out there with perceptions that I am willing to go down with anyone.”

Mbete’s campaign to replace Zuma at the ANC’s upcoming 54th National Conference in December is reported to be undergoing serious reform as she looks to revive it and win over some lost ground.

Distancing herself from the perception that she is Zuma’s protector was apparently one way in which Mbete looked to revive her campaign. However, she has tough competition to deal with from presidential frontrunners, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

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