Parties sing praises of new leader

Anna Majava

Anna Majava

Opposition parties yesterday welcomed the election of ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe as the new president of the country, saying he was the most suitable candidate for job.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi praised Motlanthe as a "man of integrity with an instinctive sense of the common good".

"I would like to applaud him for not being afraid to stand up to some of the rabble-rousers in the ANC. This gives me hope for our country," said Buthelezi.

Embattled PAC MP Motsoko Pheko told parliament that Motlanthe was "a pleasant person" who he wished well.

The parties, however, also challenged Motlanthe to rise above the ANC's internal politics and deal effectively with the controversy around the multi-billion arms deal.

The Independent Democrats and the DA called on Motlanthe to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal.

Both parties have previously made the call to the now recalled president Thabo Mbeki - but his attitude was that he would only do so if anyone provided new evidence that there was any corruption in the arms tender process.

"It is ironic that despite the 783 bribes allegedly paid to Jacob Zuma, former president Mbeki is the first major casualty of the arms deal. It is therefore imperative that President Motlanthe do two things upon assuming office," said DA leader Helen Zille.

The ID's Patricia de Lille said Mbeki was the highest profile casualty of the ANC's "decade- long denial" that there was corruption in the arms deal. "We have faith that you will appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal" she told Motlanthe.