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Msholozi trounces Mbeki in five provinces in ANC's leadership race

By unknown | Nov 26, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ido Lekota and Canaan Mdletshe

Ido Lekota and Canaan Mdletshe

The majority of the ANC want deputy president Jacob Zuma to become the party's next president.

This emerged yesterday when five of the nine provinces nominated Zuma as their preferred presidential candidate against president Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma received 61percent votes from the party's branches nationally - with Mbeki receiving 37percent in the race.

The provinces where he came out victorious against Mbeki were KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape. Mbeki won North West, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo.

The wide margin with which Msholozi won the support of the provinces makes him a hot favourite to become the president of the ANC - when the party holds its elective conference in Limpopo next month.

The provinces where Zuma has won have also nominated ANC general secretary Kgalema Motlanthe as deputy president; Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, national chairman; former Mpumalanga premier Matthew Phosa, treasurer; former National Union of Mineworkers leader Gwede Mantashe as general secretary and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbethe as his deputy.

Zuma received 98percent support from his traditional base - KwaZulu- Natal - where he is believed to have received 580 votes with Mbeki getting a paltry nine and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa receiving five votes.

Zuma has also received 88 votes against Mbeki's two from the ANC Youth League. Both the ANCYL and the ANC Women's League are regarded as branches at the national conference. The ANC Women's League is to conclude its nominations today.

The massive endorsement means that if the sentiment expressed during the party's policy conference at Gallagher Estate earlier this year that the president of the party must also be the president of the country is endorsed in Limpopo - then Mhlolozi is on his way to Mahlambandlopfu.

The only hurdles in his way are the fraud charges he might face. Insiders within the National Prosecuting Authority have indicated that it was not a matter of if but when Zuma would be charged.

But his supporters have been adamant that the charges are part of a political ploy to exclude him from the ANC leadership race. They are confident that he will win the case and become South Africa's next president.

An ardent Zuma supporter has once declared that even if the case starts before the national conference "Msholozi will go to court and during recess come to the conference where we will elect him the president of the ANC".

Zuma's endorsement follows his declaration at the weekend that he was "fit and ready to govern".

Zuma made the statement at a private function of black businessmen in Sandton on Friday.

His utterances followed the shocking appeal made by Mbeki to ANC MP's last week that they should not vote for "criminals and rapist".

Mbeki's statement was seen as a personal swipe at Zuma who last year was charged with raping a daughter of a friend but was not found guilty.


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