'We do not accept Tokyo is new messiah'

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

The road to the ANC conference in December, when a presidential candidate will be chosen, continues to throw up barriers.

Media reports that businessman Tokyo Sexwale is a possible candidate yesterday elicited an abrasive reaction from the Young Communist League (YCl).

The league, a strong ally of ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, said it had learnt "with disgust" that Sexwale was campaigning to be the next president.

"We view this as part of a strategy to mislead the public by presenting Sexwale as a messiah [in a bid] to resolve the ANC's succession battle," said YCL spokesman Castro Ngobese.

"The ANC is not a stock exchange for business people. We will not allow capitalists to parachute a candidate to us. We believe that nothing disqualifies Zuma to lead the ANC and the country," Ngobese said.

He said Zuma was the only leader in the ANC at the moment who has the ability to unite the ANC and its alliance partners.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Sexwale was vigorously campaigning to succeed President Thabo Mbeki.

Sexwale was reported to be holding discussions with former president Nelson Mandela, three cabinet ministers close to Mbeki, and aides to Zuma.

Zuma, who has denied that he holds presidential ambitions, has already been endorsed by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), SACP and Cosatu as their preferred candidate.

Recently the ANCYL was accused of disbanding the league's Eastern Cape leadership because of its support for Mbeki.

Cosatu is also said to be divided over the succession issue. Some Cosatu leaders have been accused of wanting to purge their current president, Willy Madisha, for his alleged support for Mbeki..

The leadership of the SACP is also said to be divided between Zuma and Mbeki supporters.