September 22, 2008

Zuma Says Move to Recall Mbeki One of ANC’s “Most Difficult” Decisions

Excerpt from report by website of non-profit South African Press Association (SAPA) news agency

ANC president Jacob Zuma hinted on Monday that his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe would become acting president, but stopped short of confirming this. [Passage omitted]

He called on all ANC ministers and deputy ministers to continue their work, supported by the public service "which is not affected at all by the change".

Mbeki tendered his resignation on Sunday night after the ruling party informed him it would recall him from the post. Zuma said that Mbeki "remained a comrade".

"After careful debate and discussion the NEC [National Executive Committee] decided to recall Comrade Thabo Mbeki. This was one of the most difficult decisions the NEC has ever had to take in the history of the ANC.

"We fully understand that the decision comes with a degree of pain to Comrade Mbeki, his family, friends, members of the ANC, ordinary South Africans and members of the international community with whom we interact."

He continued: "Comrade Mbeki has devoted decades of his life to the ANC and our country. The decision to recall him was not taken lightly, but it has to be taken in the interest of making the country move forward."

Zuma said the ANC appreciated the cooperation of Mbeki and the "dignified manner" with which he had conducted himself during this "difficult situation".

He said Mbeki would continue to work within the party on various tasks. He reiterated previous statements that there was no fight between himself and Mbeki.

"There is no fight ... absolutely," Zuma said.

Responding to a question, Motlanthe said disciplinary procedures against Mbeki as suggested by the ANC Youth League, could only take place once there had been a constitutional breach.

Originally published by SAPA news agency website, Johannesburg, in English 1129 22 Sep 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Africa. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.