Mbeki term will end

Reports by Kingdom Mabuza

Reports by Kingdom Mabuza

There will be no third term in office for President Thabo Mbeki.

For this to happen, the country's constitution has to change, apparently a big no with many top members of the ANC.

This was made clear by ANC general secretary Kgalema Motlanthe: "We will not tamper with the constitution of our country."

Even chances of Mbeki being re-elected as party leader for a third term were reduced by delegates attending the ANC policy conference in Midrand.

The conference insisted that whoever is elected party leader in Limpopo later this year should also be its candidate for the country's president.

Unless delegates attending the elective conference in Limpopo turn the tables and push for two centres of power, Mbeki will continue to lead the party.

There is no clause in the ANC constitution that bars Mbeki from seeking a third term as party leader. Mbeki told the SABC that if he was asked to stay on as ANC leader, he would.

Mbeki's hopes could have been raised after KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, which have been pushing for the term of ANC president to be aligned to the country's two-term in office as president, were defeated.

Delegates recommended that there was no need to synchronise the two and that the ANC's current electoral procedure was adequate.

There were major policy shifts on how premiers and mayors would be appointed after the 2009 general elections. Previously, it was entirely Mbeki's prerogative to appoint provincial and regional leaders.

Delegates agreed that in consultation with regional executive committees, provincial executive committees should make the final decision on mayors.

Premiers will be appointed by the national executive committee based on names submitted by the provincial executive.