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South African Deputy President May be Pressured to Resign


In South Africa, reports are circulating that the country’s deputy president may resign due to a power struggle within the ruling ANC party. VOA reporter Delia Robertson is following developments. From Johannesburg, she spoke to English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.

“The vice-president is Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who was appointed by President Mbeki after he fired Jacob Zuma in 2005. She is a woman who has I think shown a lot of skill and commitment in this job. She was a minister previously and she currently is the leader of government business in Parliament in her capacity as deputy president.”

The political pressure on her results from recent developments within the ANC. Robertson says, “Last December, when the ANC elected its new leadership, most of the people in senior positions and members of cabinet and so on were not elected to senior positions of the ANC, which is seen as somewhat as a backlash to President Thabo Mbeki and obviously also support for Mr. Zuma. People known to be his supporters were elected to senior positions. So currently, the senior leadership of the ANC has no representation at the most senior level of government. And so it is their aim to try and get somebody into that level of government to influence what happens in government. And I suppose also to keep Mr. Zuma briefed on in the corridors of power.”

If Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka does step down, and it’s by no means certain, the man most often mentioned as a replacement is ANC party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Mlambo-Ngcuka had at one time been considered a possible candidate for the South African presidency, but Robertson says it appears she has been caught in the middle of the power struggle between Mr. Mbeki and Mr. Zuma.

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