Motlanthe remains deputy: Zuma

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's president Jacob Zuma has dismissed claims that his deputy in government, Kgalema Motlanthe, will leave his post following his failed bid for the African National Congress (ANC) presidency in Mangaung last month.

Having lost the presidential race, Motlanthe declined nomination to serve as an additional member of the ANC national executive committee (Nec), fuelling speculation that he was no longer prepared to work with Zuma.

“There’s no tension, no dilemma,” Zuma said.

He said Motlanthe was expected to stay in his position until next year’s election.

“After 2014, that’s a different matter (in terms of a reshuffle).”

Newly-elected ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa will become the country’s deputy president after next year’s elections. Some people expect Ramaphosa to assume the role of a “de facto” prime minister, where he would have a significantly visible role as number two, within the confines of the current laws.

On his own role in government, Zuma defended his administration, which has a mantra of “doing things differently”, as it seeks to speed up the delivery of services.

“I’m very happy. In 2009, I said this many times, we must do things differently in government and we have … we have been very decisive,” he said.

Zuma often gets accused of dithering. “If I was taking decisions you would say this Zuma is a dictator, he is autocratic, he does not consult … you would have criticism that would be even more terrible. This is democracy — in democracy you discuss,” he said.

He dismissed predictions that the ANC could lose support in the 2014 poll. Zuma also dismissed complaints about the controversial upgrade to his Nkandla residence, as squeals of “people who don’t know what they are talking about”.

On the Marikana massacre, Zuma blamed the mining companies for the Marikana crisis for raising the wages of rock drill operators, which caused other miners to pursue their own wage demands.

He said there would be a “radical shift” with greater state intervention in the economy, particularly mining where he said companies have not fulfilled their obligations to support social development.

The government would come up with a “very clear package”, on its policies for the mining sector at the “right time”, he said.  — Business Day

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