'Early election to torpedo Motlanthe'

Ido Lekota

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa says the move by the ANC to have an early election next year is an attempt to torpedo President Kgalema Motlanthe's growing popularity.

"The rush to elections adds further fuel to speculation that [ANC president Jacob] Zuma's supporters are concerned about Motlanthe's popularity - a rumour that the Tripartite Alliance started itself by accusing the SABC of projecting Motlanthe as being too "presidential", Holomisa said.

He said the independent electoral commission and all political parties had been planning around May 6 as a possible election date.

But media reports yesterday said the ANC wanted next year's elections to be held as early as March 25.

"If the IEC endorses this earlier date... it will once more raise questions about the independence of the IEC," Holomisa said.

ANC spokesman Brian Sokutu, denying the election date reports, said it was the IEC's prerogative to call an election .

Holomisa also said the call was influenced by the NPA's projected date of recharging-prosecuting Zuma by April next year.