Madikizela-Mandela still to phone

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Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

ANC presidential hopeful, Jacob Zuma, yesterday poured cold water over the proposed intervention plan by party veteran, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, saying she had not yet contacted him.

Speaking at KwaKhangela Royal Palace in Nongoma, where he was flanked by King Goodwill Zwelithini, he said Madikizela-Mandela had not approached him so far.

"If media reports are correct, it is clear that she wants Mbeki to stay on as the party president," said Zuma.

He said no one else had approached him about the similar proposal in the ANC structure and there was no need for that.

He said there is no crisis in the ANC as the media reports.

"ANC delegates are expressing their choices," he said.

It has been wildly reported that Madikizela-Mandela wants President Thabo Mbeki to cut a deal to ensure that he was re-elected on condition that Zuma was not charged and also succeeded him as the president of the country in 2009.

Yesterday Zuma said he had not yet heard anything from Madikizela-Mandela.

"It will not be prudent of me to talk to the media when comrade Winnie has not spoken to me," he said.

Zuma said he had read in the media that Madikizela-Mandela wanted Mbeki to stay on as the president of the ANC.

Zuma met with the King to get blessings before going to Polokwane. He said there was nothing extraordinary about his visit to Zwelithini as he had always paid respect to "his king".

King Zwelithini also confirmed that Zuma's visit was strictly to pay respect to him as the king.

University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu said the meeting was an attempt by Zuma to get blessings of the king in his political venture.

"It means he has got the support of all the people of KwaZulu-Natal and that is very important politically," said Ndlovu.