Mbete slams ‘mis­chievous’ ANC job ploys

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - LUYOLO MKENTANE luyolo.mkentane@inl.co.za @luy­olomken­tane

ANC NA­TIONAL chair­per­son Baleka Mbete has called on those be­hind a “ma­li­cious cam­paign” to dis­credit her to stop us­ing her name for their “op­por­tunis­tic in­ten­tions”.

This comes after elec­tronic posters and var­i­ous items of cloth­ing with her im­age sur­faced on dig­i­tal plat­forms yes­ter­day, en­dors­ing her bid to be­come the next ANC leader when Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma steps down in De­cem­ber.

A T-shirt with the words “BM17”, “Baleka Mbete”, and “In­com­ing pres­i­dent” are among the para­pher­na­lia pur­ported to be pro­duced by Mbete’s camp ahead of the na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence.

But she has de­nied any in­volve­ment, say­ing these were “mis­chievous tac­tics” that were de­signed to tar­nish her rep­u­ta­tion in the eyes of ANC mem­bers and the pub­lic.

“Such acts are clearly the work of so-called lob­by­ists seek­ing to erode unity within the or­gan­i­sa­tion and di­vide the move­ment by pit­ting com­rade against com­rade,” Mbete said in a state­ment re­leased by the ANC last night.

The ANC said Mbete’s po­si­tion was in line with the rul­ing party’s di­rec­tive that “mem­bers of the ANC, its struc­tures and (leagues) must de­sist from di­vi­sive be­hav­iour which un­der­mines the unity and co­he­sion of the ANC to­wards the 54th na­tional con­fer­ence and be­yond”.

The de­ci­sion was taken by the ANC’s na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee after var­i­ous lead­ers spoke openly about who they pre­ferred to suc­ceed Zuma as the party’s next pres­i­dent.

Mbete has said she was sur­prised by the state­ment from the ANC Women’s League, on the eve of the party’s Jan­uary 8 state­ment, en­dors­ing AU Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as Zuma’s suc­ces­sor.

Mbete has also been quoted as say­ing she was avail­able for the ANC’s top job, and that she had been ap­proached by var­i­ous struc­tures to run for the pres­i­dency. After ag­o­nis­ing over the mat­ter, she had de­cided to make her­self avail­able.

She has also said the ANC has found it dif­fi­cult to con­trol the suc­ces­sion de­bate.

Be­sides Mbete and Dlamini Zuma, an­other con­tender for the pres­i­dency is Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, who en­joys the sup­port of Cosatu and the SACP.

On Mon­day, EFF leader Julius Malema weighed in on the ANC suc­ces­sion race, say­ing Dlamini Zuma would be pres­i­dent if Zuma wanted her to be. But Malema warned that if Dlamini Zuma won, it would be to pro­tect her ex-hus­band from fac­ing cor­rup­tion charges.

CAM­PAIGN­ING? Para­pher­na­lia said to be pro­duced for Baleka Mbete.

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