Zuma says third presidential term 'an issue to deal with'

The African National Congress Youth League should act to stop the possibility of an ANC president running for a third term, ANC president Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

Zuma, speaking at the league’s national executive committee lmeeting in Vanderbijlpark, said the first president of the ANC after apartheid, Nelson Mandela, had only served one term.

Zuma said: “When the next president [Thabo Mbeki] was to bow out with the demands of the country, because he was not very old and still had energy and everything and felt he still had to play a role in the leadership of the organisation [he elected to try stay on for a third term as ANC president].”

“There is nothing wrong with that,” said Zuma.

However he said the situation had introduced “an issue to deal with”.

“Do we leave the situation to chance so that one day if some energetic president emerges who thinks ‘I feel I would want to stay’... [I think it is important].”

Zuma said the matter should be settled “for once and for all” so it does not raise an artificial problem.

He said the succession battle had not split the party.

He said that misconception had been caused by the media and people “who don’t understand the vibrancy of democracy”.

He said there would be conflicting views in the party, but “once we have agreed, we have agreed, even if we differ, we’ll defend it, we’ll implement it.”

Zuma said the critical work for the party—including its youth league—was to work towards unity within the organisation.

“There are not two centres of power… there is the ANC and one leadership.” - Sapa

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