Motlanthe swearing in likely to be delayed
African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma will be sworn in on Wednesday as a member of Parliament on Wednesday by Chief Justice Pius Langa.
Meanwhile, the swearing in of President Kgalema Motlanthe as a MP is likely to be delayed so that he can stay on as the leader of the country until Saturday afternoon.
If he were to be sworn in as an MP on Thursday as planned, in terms of the Constitution he would then cease to be president.
“There will be a period of days where we will not have a president—we can’t have that,” ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told a press briefing in Parliament on Tuesday.
“We are getting legal opinion on the matter. Pending the outcome of that we will take a decision.”
Mantashe added: “It is a technicality rather than a matter of principle.”
Alternatively the party could wait to swear Motlanthe in until after Zuma took the oath of office at his inauguration in Pretoria on Saturday.
“Jacob Zuma will only become the president of South Africa when he raises his hand and says ‘So help me God’,” Mantashe said.
Mantashe said the former deputy health minister, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who was set to be appointed deputy speaker of the National Assembly, had decided not to be sworn in as an MP.
“Nozizwe wants to do something else outside of Parliament. We said okay.”
Party MPs would be closely monitored and evaluated in the upcoming session of Parliament.
This would take place in the office of the president and at party level.
“We must be more deep and scientific [in our monitoring]. That is something we are going to take quite seriously.”
ANC lauds Zuma
In a statement on Tuesday, the ANC said it “has been a long road for Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma”, born in 1942 in Inkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, to Gcinamazwi and Nokubhekisisa Zuma.
His father gave all his children names that expressed his mood and feelings during the period of their birth, the ANC said.
Writing in his autobiography, which was expected to be published before the end of 2009, Zuma said: “For reasons only known to him, and it’s a story we never got to know, he said in Zulu: ‘Ngeke ngithule umuntu engigedla engihlekisa! [I will not keep quiet when a person pretends to like me when he doesn’t]’.
“Thus Joseph’s name is Ngekengithule and mine Gedleyihlekisa, with the name given to me by my mother being Mhlanganyelwa. It perhaps all makes sense now, for the literal meaning of the name is when people conspire or gang up against you!” Zuma wrote.
The ANC said Zuma was a leader with outstanding qualities, renowned for his “legendary patience and his listening, consensus-seeking and conflict-prevention skills”. - Sapa