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Will Motlanthe stay?

Speculation is mounting over whether Kgalema Motlanthe could possibly resign.

ANC President Jacob Zuma and former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe embrace during the announcement of the ANC's top six at the party's Mangaung conference. Picture: ANC

MANGAUNG - Speculation is mounting over whether Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe could possibly resign his government post.

On Tuesday night, he declined a nomination to the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) after losing a leadership race to President Jacob Zuma.

All six leadership positions were won by those on the Zuma slate.

The ANC's 53rd national conference in Mangaung will now begin voting for nominees to the NEC.

The question now is how long Motlanthe will remain the country's deputy president.

He only secured 25 percent of the vote for the presidency on Tuesday after which he made it clear he wanted no position in the ruling party.

This effectively means Motlanthe is just an ordinary ANC member.

But it also means he may feel he does not have the legitimacy to stay on as deputy president, and thus should resign.

But President Zuma may feel that he should ask Motlanthe to stay on in the interests of party unity.

He may also want to avoid the precedent of the Mbeki recall.

However, Motlanthe's decision to decline a nomination to the ANC's NEC may be an indication that he feels properly rejected by the party, after 15 years in the top six.

Political analyst Adam Habib said Motlanthe may well give up his position as the country's number two.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he were to resign in coming months. I know that officially he is unlikely to do this, but the relationship between him and the president isn't too great and I can't imagine it continuing for too long."

ZUMA'S JOYOUS SUPPORTERS

President Zuma convincingly trounced Motlanthe in the leadership race winning 2984 votes in comparison to Motlanthe's 991 and sparking massive celebrations.

Once Zuma's presidency was sealed, his supporters celebrated by mocking the so-called "forces of change".

The pro-change campaign had been backing Motlanthe to take over the ANC top job, but in the end, it was the Zuma slate that came out tops.

Businessman Cyril Ramaphosa also received massive support when he was named new ANC deputy president, also by an overwhelming majority.

One delegate, who was among those celebrating, said: "I am very happy, I wish they could announce it again. I'm very happy."

Motlanthe's supporters are now licking their wounds.

NEC NOMINATIONS

Delegates now have to vote for the party's NEC and the focus will be on what happens to those who did not make it into the top six - the likes of Mathews Phosa, Tokyo Sexwale, Fikile Mbalula and Paul Mashatile.

Several high-profile members including Mac Maharaj, Trevor Manuel, Jay Naidoo, unionists Zwelinzima Vavi, Irvin Jim and Frans Baleni declined nominations to the NEC.

Several provincial leaders turned down nominations too, choosing instead to bank on their home support.

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