Motlanthe ‘laughs’ at resignation reports

ANC says there is no rule which states its deputy president must be SA’s deputy.

ANC president Jacob Zuma and SA deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe embrace during the announcement of the ANC's top six in Mangaung. Picture: ANC

MANGAUNG - The ANC on Thursday spoke out about the future of deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe after he lost the race for the ANC presidency and declined nomination to the party's national executive committee (NEC).

The ANC's top officials held a press briefing a short while ago, where Secretary General Gwede Mantashe addressed speculation that new ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa would be taking on a prime minister's role.

This led to other questions about whether Motlanthe would be quitting as deputy president of the country after he lost to Jacob Zuma in the race for the ANC presidency on Tuesday.

Mantashe wanted to make it clear that the ANC had not appointed Ramaphosa to become a prime minister to Zuma.

"The deputy president is the head of government business, and therefore a de facto prime minister. So the debate about appointing a prime minister is a dead debate."

Then ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu decided to set the record straight on Motlanthe's future.

Mthembu said he spoke to Motlanthe about the issue.

"Motlanthe just laughed and he said: 'Where do they get these horror stories?'

"I don't know where the media get these horror stories from, but the deputy president is a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC and he will stick to where the ANC has deployed him."

Mantashe says there is no rule in the ANC that the deputy president of the party must be the deputy president of the country, so there is no need for Motlanthe to step down.

Speculation on what Motlanthe's next move would be started to grow after he and his entire slate were not nominated to the party's top six positions in the NEC on Tuesday.

Political analyst and renowned academic Adam Habib had said the relationship between Zuma and Motlanthe was not "too good" and that he could not imagine it continuing for much longer.

The conference will on Thursday hold a plenary session for reports on the outcome of policy discussions, announce the results of newly elected additional NEC members and hear a closing speech from Zuma.