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Motlanthe drops hints about Mangaung

Kgalema Motlanthe spoke at the launch of his biography, at Wits.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the launch of his book on 11 October 2012. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe used the launch of his new biography on Thursday to drop hints that he was willing to challenge President Jacob Zuma at Mangaung.

But Motlanthe refused to say outright whether he would run for the ANC presidency.

Motlanthe's speech was littered with cryptic clues, using a metaphor about education to suggest change was inevitable.

He told a packed hall at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg of how he was inspired by a school in Italy that used modern technology to prepare toddlers.

"…We live in a world that's ever-changing. These children will learn that things are always changing and have to be changed."

His recount of his experience was met with roaring laughter and clapping, compelling Motlanthe to backtrack.

"This is about science, it's not about names of places. I can see that you are trapped within the geographical name of Mangaung."

Afterwards, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, who appears to be a close ally of Zuma's, was asked if that was a campaign speech, to which he responded "I don't know."

But acting ANC Youth League leader Ronald Lamola was adamant his speech was proof Motlanthe would run.

Ebrahim Harvey, the author of Kgalema Motlanthe: A political biography, told the packed hall that the timing of the book was a coincidence and not meant to help his campaign.

Motlanthe said he hoped his new book would encourage readers to challenge their thinking and pull them away from their comfort zones.

Senior ANC members Tokyo Sexwale, Mathews Phosa, Ahmed Kathrada and Trevor Manuel were among those who attended.

ANC delegates will elect new leadership at the party's national elective conference in December.

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