Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's a Zuma revolution

By Ilhaam Hoosain
20 December 2007

Jacob Zuma is in the spotlight as South Africans try to determine when the ANC's new leader and the country's likely next president will lead the country.

But the ANC's new top leadership has already indicated that economic policies are likely to stay the same.

Tokyo Sexwale said the result was a revolution but there should not be a purge to follow according to the Daily News.

"It (the result) was a revolution. I would however hope that there will be, as has begun, an understanding that we are one large party working together to secure a better life for all South Africans," says Sexwale.

Zuma received 2 329 votes and Mbeki only 1 505 votes and there were eight spoilt papers and one abstention.

The five top positions as deputy-president of the party Kgalema Motlanthe beat Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The new chairperson is Speaker Baleka Mbete, who was chosen above Joel Netshitenzhe.

Gwede Mantashe was chosen as secretary-general, above Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota.

Thandi Modise, who beat Thoko Didiza, is the new deputy-secretary general and former Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa becomes treasurer-general, beating Deputy-President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Zuma did not comment or speak to any media at the conference.
South Africans would have been be able to get their first indications of Zuma's thinking from a briefing he was expected to give today, but this has been postponed until further notice.

Sexwale said "while it was quiet clear that change was needed at the top, I believe that the same leadership that was ousted tonight will still serve the ANC and the country with distinction. I think they can become nominees for the other NEC position still to be decided. They have been diligent and some of them are heroes of government. All of those who are out are stalwarts of the organisation. By removing them it does not mean a death sentence for them they will still play an important role in government at least for the next few years", he commented.

He also had kind words for the defeated President Thabo Mbeki.
"Thabo (Mbeki) is a veteran. He is gifted, a highly intellectual leader who knows the history of the ANC. He has served us. He has been at the top for 10 years and that doesn't include the 5 years he spent as deputy president of the country and the ANC under Nelson Mandela from 1994 to 1999."

"He is still the president of the country and it is out of order to call him a fifth columnist. It will never happen that these leaders are lost to the political wilderness.

"The ANC will not get divided because a certain faction won. Organisations get divided on issues of politics, policies, visions, philosophies and no such divisions within the ANC exist" he said.

ID President Patricia de Lille says the ID is ‘pleased that the ANC succession race is over and it is my hope that the ruling party will now focus on building a South Africa that bridges the divides between all sectors of our society.’

De Lille says the ID ‘respects the internal processes of the ANC to elect a leader of its choice – and we therefore congratulate Jacob Zuma on his election as President of the party.

She goes onto say that she hopes that the ANC will now finally focus on the important policy issues, because we as South Africans really need to deal with creating jobs, fighting poverty, improving service delivery and of course combating crime and corruption,’ says De Lille.

‘We also believe South Africa needs a leader who is pro-poor and stands firm when it comes to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, women and children.

‘We hope Mr Zuma will be an all-inclusive leader who seeks to end discrimination in all its forms,’ De Lille says.

‘We also hope that he will move away from policy making to policy implementation – South Africa needs to see more action and less talk.’

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has described Jacob Zuma’s election as African National Congress president as a "dismal day" for the country.

“It is an indictment on the ruling party that they could find no better candidate than Zuma to lead them,” says Zille. Former president F W de Klerk congratulated Zuma on his victory but urged him not to push for fundamental changes to the country’s economic policy. Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi says Zuma faces "enormous" tasks but ads that it is "a great privilege and responsibility” to lead the organisation.



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