Fri Oct 20 12:47:20 CAT 2017

We want Kgalema

2012-11-26 13:11:59.0 | HLENGIWE NHLABATHI |

GAUTENG ANC chairman Paul Mashatile is adamant the campaign to unseat President Jacob Zuma hasn't lost steam. But he admitted they were operating under the assumption that deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will agree to stand against Zuma in Mangaung at the party's elective conference next month.

MOTLANTHE AND I: Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at an ANC meeting. Picture by Alon Skuy

Mashatile, who is seen as the chief campaigner for Motlanthe, said he still believed that a new generation of leaders was needed to deal with the inefficiency of the state.

"Those who want change are nominating Motlanthe. A lot of people question the fact that he has not said he will serve. Our view is that all leaders will have an opportunity to indicate that. In my view, the campaign for change is going ahead until the conference," he told a Daily Maverick gathering in Johannesburg on Friday.

There are suggestions that Motlanthe's campaign has flopped and his supporters are demoralised because of his reluctance to say whether he will contest Zuma.

Mashatile said it is wrong for people to associate contest with division.

"Leadership cannot be by arrangement but by the will of people who have to choose freely ... nominating different leaders is democracy at work, that's how things should be.

"The party can't allow leaders to sit in boardrooms," he said.

Mashatile also said he was willing to work with whatever leadership that emerges in December, even if it was not Motlanthe.

He said the leadership elected in Mangaung will work towards implementing policies that would better the lives of South Africans.

Quitting cabinet was also not an option, he said.

"If the ANC recalls me out of cabinet and sends me elsewhere I will go there. Our commitment is to assist to change things and not to run away. We want change to ensure things become better. By being in cabinet I will be able to add to those efforts and ensure we move in the right direction."

In an unprecedented move, Mashatile spoke out against the government's laxity in dealing with officials involved in the Limpopo textbook saga.

He said those who were involved should have been fired.

There have been calls for Zuma to fire Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Zuma has, however, defended her, citing the conclusion of investigations before such a decision can be made.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who was also among the guest speakers on Friday, descried how the ANC has turned into a party of "absolutely no consequence".

"It needs to move away from being of absolutely no consequence back to being the ANC - the real congress of the people," he said looking at Mashatile.

"Unless we change from that, Paul, our country will be eaten by dogs, will continue to deteriorate, will be a laughing stock and join other basket case states and become another example of a failed revolution," said Vavi.

Former trade unionist Jay Naidoo expressed cynicism about leadership.

He said people needed to "get rid of the messiah complex" of wanting to be led, suggesting that there were no capable leaders.

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