/ 26 November 2007

Women’s League to ‘speak for itself’

The African National Congress Women’s League is to finalise its nominations for the party’s leadership on Monday.

Earlier, it was reported that the women’s league favoured Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The league, however, refuted this saying it would ”speak for itself” once it had consolidated the provincial nominations.

The women’s league is regarded as a province in the election process, along with the ANC Youth League (Ancyl).

Ancyl on Friday reaffirmed its support for Jacob Zuma as president at a press briefing. Its nomination list included Kgalema Mothlante as deputy president, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe as secretary general, Baleka Mbethe as deputy secretary general and Matthew Phosa as treasurer.

Nominations from’ the ANC provinces placed Zuma in the lead for the top job with a total of 2 270 votes.

His arch-rival and president, Thabo Mbeki received 1 396 votes.

Zuma trumped Mbeki in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape, Gauteng and the Free State.

Mbeki was backed by the Eastern Cape, North West, Western Cape and Limpopo.

The provincial nominations placed Zuma and Mbeki at the centre of the battle, with other possible candidates including businessman Tokyo Sexwale and former trade unionist and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, largely absent from nomination lists.

‘We could lose it all’

Meanwhile, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) gathered, as the provincial nominations were being finalised on Sunday in Limpopo, to pray for ”peace, stability and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the processes leading to the ANC national conference in Polokwane”.

”I cannot overemphasise that we could lose it all -‒ much more easily than we gained it. Thirteen, fifteen, twenty five years later, it can all be gone!” said SACC president Professor Tinyiko Maluleke.

Referring to the media and politicians, he said the country found no ”entertainment in the scandals with which the public is fed week after week”.

”We have watched you disgrace and smear one another in ugly media wars of words and more recently the fist scuffles and fights inspired by your own conduct.

”We have heard our leaders call one another names in public. We have come to ask you all to stop and remember where we come from, as a fledgling nation and as a people recently formed,” he said.

Zuma could be recharged for alleged bribery and fraud in an arms corruption scandal. He was acquitted in an unrelated rape trial that tarnished his reputation.

Analysts say any new legal moves against Zuma could make him a martyr among supporters, who say he is the victim of a political witch hunt.

Speculation has emerged that the rivalry between Mbeki and Zuma, which has plunged the party into one of the worst crises in its history, could force a compromise candidate.

In another scenario cited by analysts, the ANC could hold off on choosing a new leader next month to try to ease divisions that have overshadowed issues such as widespread poverty, HIV/Aids and one of the world’s highest crime rates. – Sapa, Reuters