Phumzile stands down as deputy president

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has resigned, her spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

“Yes, she has resigned. The deputy president has resigned [following] outgoing President Thabo Mbeki,” said her spokesperson, Denzil Taylor.

“She resigned for two reasons—for personal reasons, and also she wants to afford the new president the opportunity to elect his or her own deputy president.”

Taylor said a “broader statement” would be released later on Tuesday.

The announcement came after the African National Congress national executive committee decided at the weekend to remove Mbeki from office.

ANC spokesperson Steyn Speed said it was Mlambo-Ngcuka’s own decision to step down.

“There was no decision by the national executive committee to recall her,” Speed said.

Asked if the ANC had nominated a candidate for the deputy presidency, he said: “I can’t imagine that that has come up.”

The ANC said on Tuesday its deputy leader, Kgalema Motlanthe, would become the country’s president until next year’s election.

Asked by Talk Radio 702 if the party could confirm that Motlanthe would take over after Thabo Mbeki’s resignation as head of state on Sunday, ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte said: “He will be the president of course until the next election.”

Parliament is widely expected to choose Motlanthe as president on Thursday after the ANC nominates him on the floor.

Motlanthe is a left-leaning intellectual, widely respected by both the radical leftists and business tycoons within the ANC. He is seen as a figure who could help heal the deepest divisions in the party’s history.

ANC leader Jacob Zuma made clear on Monday his backing for Motlanthe as he pledged that the party would ensure a smooth transition and economic policy continuity despite the biggest political crisis since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Application for leave to appeal
Meanwhile, Mbeki filed papers in the Constitutional Court on Monday to join an application for leave to appeal against a Pietermaritzburg High Court judgement on Jacob Zuma.

Presidential spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga told the South African Press Association papers had also been filed by the Cabinet to be part of such an application.

He said Mbeki had filed in both his personal capacity and as head of the executive.

In the recent Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling, Judge Chris Nicholson found the executive might have interfered in the decision to prosecute the African National Congress (ANC) president.

“I am ... not convinced that the applicant [Zuma] was incorrect in averring political meddling in his prosecution,” Nicholson noted in finding the prosecution of Zuma invalid.

Nicholson criticised former justice minister Penuell Maduna’s involvement with former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Bulelani Ngcuka early in the investigation.

He found it startling that Ngcuka had thanked Maduna for his support at a press conference, given the independence of the NDPP.

It was after the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling that the ANC announced it was recalling Mbeki, not to punish him, but as “a political way to deal with the implications of Judge Nicholson’s ruling”.

However, announcing his resignation on Sunday, Mbeki disputed suggestions of his involvement in a political conspiracy against Zuma.

“I would like to state this categorically: that we have never done this and never compromised the right of the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] to decide whom it should prosecute and not prosecute,” Mbeki said.—Sapa, Reuters

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