Denials over top post ... but let the race begin

A lot has been said about the ANC leadership succession debate.

We have seen comrades verbally throttling each other and, lo and behold! chairs flying at a high-profile funeral recently. S'true.

So, I also jump on the analysis bandwagon but will not speculate. I confine my propensity to the top contenders who I fictitiously asked the same question: Will you accept nomination for the hot seat?

l President Thabo Mbeki

Those close to him, I am told, just call him "T'Bose" - as in the popular deejay.

Now T'Bose comes from a highly political family. His late father Govan was Madiba's confidant and spent all those years with him on Robben Island.

We also learnt that the man who is now president of the country and the ANC is, like his father, committed to the struggle.

It is thus not surprising that his response was typical.

"Who, me? Of course I am da leader. I was born to lead. You can ask my brother."

l Jacob Zuma

It is known that JZ comes from the trenches as a cadre of the ANC. He says so himself.

In response to the question, Msholozi said: "I am 100 percent Zulu even though someone does not like my T-shirt. But I belong to the ANC as a collective."

"Do you aspire to be the president of the ANC and hopefully of the country?" I insisted.

"You see, I belong to the ANC. If the ANC wants me to do anything I will obey.

"If the movement asks me I will say yes."

I say: "I think you are being evasive."

"There you go again. The media always wants me to say something which I do not intend saying."

l Tokyo Sexwale

From MK cadre, past Robben Island, to Gauteng premier and now billionaire, the journey has been long.

Tokyo does not beat about the bush about his ambition for the highest office in the land.

"Why can't I run? I am clean."

l Cyril Ramaphosa

A co-architect of our Constitution, Ramaphosa left politics amid speculation that he would succeed Nelson Mandela. Now a successful businessman with a ready but enigmatic smile, Ramaphosa avoids the media at all costs, if he can.

"Who, me? I do not want the presidency. But I do not know... Sorry chief, I have to run."

l Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

She was our first minister of health. How I wish things could have stayed the same. I'll forgive the Sarafina 2 storm in a teacup. However, she is doing a sterling job as foreign affairs minister.

Dlamini-Zuma has been punted as a dark horse who could become South Africa's first woman president.

Much as they have done well to enhance her sartorial elegance, a lot more has to be done for her articulation.

"Will you accept nomination for the hot seat?"

I am afraid I didn't hear her response.

A voice clinic might help, don't you think?

l Kgalema Motlanthe

He is the ANC secretary-general known for his orderliness as an administrator and tactician. But I cannot see him rise to the top.

He agrees too.

"I do not know where you get this notion about me joining the race. Let the branches speak."

l Joel Netshitendze

Considered the ANC's intellectual giant, the former government spokesman now works in the presidency.

He is a quiet and unassuming fellow.

"No, chief. Me, president?"

Well, let the race begin.