Mbete joins the race for ANC presidency

Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete has thrown her name into the ring in the race for leadership of the ANC this year, the Sunday Times reported.

Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Times this week, Mbete said that she had been approached by many within the party to run, and “after much agonising” decided to make herself available for the role.

This would make Mbete the third candidate to be in ‘official’ running, with the other two candidates being deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and outgoing AU chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The latter two candidates have been endorsed on some official level, with Dlamini-Zuma getting support from the ANC Women’s League, and Ramaphosa from worker union Cosatu, which still holds sway despite having no direct ANC integration.

According to the Sunday Times, Mbete’s supporters have released a slate with her in the top position, with Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza as her deputy and NCOP chairwoman Thandi Modise as chairwoman.

Other politicians named on the slate include Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa as secretary-general and former ANC Youth League activist Febe Potgieter-Gqubule as deputy secretary-general, the paper reported.

This is the fourth slate to make its way into the public, following those from Dlamini-Zuma supporters, Ramaphosa supporters and apparently the ‘surprise’ slate from the ANC Youth League.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa this week dismissed the slates, saying they were not official and were coming from various leagues and factions in the party.

The party itself has spoken out on a number occasions against so-called ‘slate politics’, saying that it was divisive and against the party’s policies.

Secretary general Gwede Mantashe has criticised the ANC Women’s League and Cosatu for having endorsed candidates, saying that such talk was premature and fueled divisions at a time the party was calling for unity.

You can read the full report in the Sunday Times for 15 January 2017.

Read: These could be the next leaders of the ANC

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Mbete joins the race for ANC presidency