MaMbeki is behind Zuma

IN A surprise move, former president Thabo Mbeki's mother has come out in support of President Jacob Zuma, saying he is the man she strongly believes will emerge victorious in Mangaung next month.

"Give me Zuma any day. He will have a second term," said Epainette Mbeki, better known as MaMbeki.

Speaking from her home in Ngcingwana, Eastern Cape, MaMbeki said if Zuma and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, were to be nominated to contest for the ANC presidency, her preferred candidate would be Zuma.

She described Motlanthe as a difficult leader when it comes to understanding his vision, adding that it would be difficult to support him.

"I don't have confidence in Kgalema," she said. "He is a difficult character to understand. One does not know what he stands for. It is difficult to know where he would lead the ANC and country if he became president."

Despite giving Zuma the edge over Motlanthe, MaMbeki said Zuma was not a fine and rounded leader, but a leader with shortcomings.

"Msholozi is ... easy-going and at times fails to make his own decisions. He wants to please everyone. In the end, he could fail to fulfil all his promises. That is the weakness of his leadership and will be his downfall as a leader. The ANC needs a stronger leader," she said.

She said Motlanthe's quietness about his aspirations to become president was costing him dearly.

"Members would be very sceptical of his becoming president."

She said though leaders like Mbeki and Motlanthe believe in quiet diplomacy, "the two have different characters altogether, with different leadership skills. You cannot compare the two".

Mbeki tendered his resignation in 2008 following the ANC's decision to recall him.

This was after he was defeated by Zuma at the party's elective conference in Polokwane in 2007.

On her son's recall in 2008 she said: "... the majority of the (ANC) national executive committee agreed on recalling Thabo. Msholozi had not single-handedly recalled Thabo, but the NEC collective did".