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ANC Presidency race hots up as Mbete’s name enters fray

The race for the ANC Presidency is hotting up and more names are emerging. The latest name to surface is that of party Chairperson and Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete.

She attended a family meeting, together with traditional leaders, at her birthplace near Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape. It is believed that the meeting was convened to give her their blessing to contest for the ANC presidency.

Mbete joined the chanting and dancing among her family who were praising the AmaHlubi nation for having given birth to a leader of her calibre.

Chief Thanduxolo Magadla believes that Baleka Mbete can be a leader of high quality in the country given a chance.

“She is the veteran in the ANC and it’s a democratic South Africa. If the case may be, she can be the President of this country being a woman and we can appreciate that as the Hlubis because the Hlubis is one of the big nations in the country. She can be a good President. You know, firstly, she is from the rural areas, secondly, she knows urban setup. She can be a good President.”

Chief Magadla praised Mbete for her role in the liberation struggle. He says the fact that she is the first woman Chairperson in the ANC proves that she is capable of facing any challenge.

“She went to exile. She also went under military training under Umkhonto We Sizwe. By the time all political organizations were unbanned she came back and served in the negotiations in Kempton Park. As a result, she was one of the members who drafted the constitution of the Republic of South Africa.”

The African Union Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is also being touted as a candidate to become the next ANC president

Mbete has reiterated that South Africa is ready to be led by a woman.

“In as far as that question is, relating to whether we do have capable women, I think from the very birth of the ANC, it had very capable women leaders. One of them is Charlotte Maxeke. She was such a great woman; she did things that even male leaders had not seen or had not done and she was a pioneer.”

She says Maxeke was a formidable leader who worked tirelessly to free South Africans.

“She was not just a leader of women’s organization. She led in different sectors; she led in the religious sector; she led in the education sphere; she was a social worker; she talked about the social conditions of our people. She was a very formidable leader who could have led anybody and everybody.”

But, when asked directly if she will be contesting for the ANC presidency, she has refused to confirm any of the speculation.

“I am saying I really cannot, as a disciplined member of the organization, do something that the organization has said ‘do not. It is not on the agenda.’ Now, if you entertain it you are bringing on the agenda illegally in terms of breaking the rules, which I cannot do when I am not only the member but I am actually a leader who expects that whatever the organization has decided must be adhered to.”

It is not the first time that Mbete’s name is bandied about as a possible successor to ANC president, Jacob Zuma in 2017.

The African Union Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is also being touted as a candidate to become the next ANC president. Her term as AU chair expires in July.

– By Nkululeko Nyembezi

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