South Africa’s Communist Party (SACP) has welcomed the
appointment of the vice president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC)
party into President Thabo Mbeki’s cabinet as a step in the right direction.
The SACP, which is in an alliance with the ruling ANC, says the appointment of
deputy leader Kgalema Motlanthe is long overdue. The party adds that the
appointment would ensure a smooth transition after President Mbeki leaves
office ahead of this year’s general elections. Some political observers,
however, say President Mbeki has bowed to internal pressure from the camp of
the leader of the ANC, Jacob Zuma. From Johannesburg, SACP spokesman Francis
Maleka tells reporter Peter Clottey the party has yet to be informed about the
possible portfolio of the deputy ANC leader.
South African Communist Party welcomes the announcement, wishing that the
appointment of the deputy president of the ANC into a senior cabinet position
has long been overdue. Obviously, at this moment we have not been informed of
the exact duties and responsibilities and an exact ministry that would be
assumed by the deputy president of the ANC,” Maleka noted.
He said the appointment of
the ANC deputy president is a move to ensure a silky future transition for the
“This might be an important
step in moving forward towards making sure that we have got a smooth transition
between the Mbeki regime and the Zuma regime when President Jacob Zuma assumes
his role as the president of the republic next year,” he said.
Maleka described as
unfortunate speculation that President Mbeki caved into pressure from within
the ruling party.
“I don’t know what people
mean when they say that this is because of pressure. The reality of the matter
is that the African National Congress has their own elections, so the ruling
party will then determine what must happen in government. They (ANC) went to
the electorates, presented the manifesto, and more than 70 percent of the
electorate reaffirmed the ANC to lead. So I think it is a suggestion that has
been extremely founded on intention to cause divisions in our movement, even where
they do not exist,” Maleka pointed out.
He said that after President
Mbeki, there is need for the next presidency to run without any hitches.
“The reality of the matter
is that all of us know that the ruling party need to continue to prepare
themselves to be able to have a smooth transition from individuals who are at
the helm. The issue that has been raised insofar as the deputy president of the
ANC is concerned, we understand in two or threefold. Firstly, is that in his
capacity, as the secretary general, he was full-time at the Tuli house,
therefore amassed a lot of experience. So the first question was that, what do
you do with that experience? The second thing is that in any way we have to
prepare for a transition. So how do you deploy your cadres such that they are
ready and are able to assume responsibilities?” he asked.
Maleka said South Africans
should be aware of the ANC council resolution, which would be upheld by the
rank and file of the party.
“The ANC is a very dynamic
organization of capable leaders so the suggestion that this might mean that
automatically comrade Kgalema might be ahead of anybody, there are no
guarantees. Next year or late this year, there would be process to determine
the list of our public representatives. That process would determine our
candidate for various things. What I think the public needs to know is that
there is an ANC conference resolution, which is that the president of the ANC
must be the president of the republic. So that thing won’t change,” Maleka,
He said President Mbeki was
following laid down procedure by appointing the ANC deputy leader into his
“President Mbeki is only
implementing the decision of the national executive body of the ANC that it is
only befitting that the deputy president of the ANC stays in cabinet. So he is
not making other extraordinary overtures to the deputy president,” he said.