An ANC stalwart behind a campaign seeking to dislodge Jacob Zuma believes that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa are too old to replace the president.
Sipho Pityana, chairman of the civil rights movement Save SA, argued that Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma, considered as front-runners in ANC's presidential race, would not lead the country energetically and would struggle to connect with young people.
"I personally think that South Africa must seriously consider that it may be time to have much younger leaders than either of these two to lead the country.
"Jacob is 75. Nkosazana will be 70 in 2019 and Cyril will be 67. Running a government and a complex state system that we have requires a huge amount of energy and people who have a connection to the next generation." He said the country should consider electing a president in their 40s or 50s.
He made reference to former US president Barrack Obama who is 55 and former UK prime minister David Cameron who is 50 this year.
The former director-general of the labour and foreign affairs departments spoke to Sowetan last week Wednesday at an eatery in Pretoria's Groenkloof, two hours before he was scheduled to address thousands of protesters engaged in the march seeking to force Zuma to step down.
He said any individual who wanted to be a leader of the ANC and country should be open about what they represented and their integrity must be subject to scrutiny.
Pityana added that he believed Zuma could be driven out of office by a multi-pronged approach.
"No single incident will measure the success or otherwise of this campaign [marches against Zuma].
"The marches are just one of the number of methods and nobody is under any illusion that as a result of one or two marches the president will step down."
He warned though that Save SA, should Zuma be removed by parliament, would fight to ensure that his replacement was not a corrupt leader.
"We will watch very closely that parliament does not elect a Zuma lookalike. There is no point in just removing Zuma and having somebody else who is equally corrupt..." he said.
Pityana had bodyguards with him due to a recommendation by his advisers, he said.