Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2004-03-09 Reporter: Sapa

Zuma has No Worries About Mbeki's Successor



Mail and Guardian

Date 2004-03-09



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There is no reason for concern over the question of a successor for President Thabo Mbeki, his deputy, Jacob Zuma, said on Tuesday.

The African National Congress, he said, has a capable leadership structure -- not only one leader like some other political parties.

"Leadership is not the issue in question," he told members of the presidential press corps in Pretoria.

"Please have no worries. In terms of leadership there is stability."

Recent media speculation about the possible appointment of three deputy presidents was unfounded, Zuma added.

Earlier this month, Business Day newspaper reported on claims that Mbeki might appoint two additional deputy presidents after the April 14 election.

The names of Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota were mentioned.

Their appointments would be aimed at preventing infighting over who would succeed Mbeki, the paper said. This has been dismissed by the presidency and the ANC.

Zuma on Tuesday also brushed aside speculation on Mbeki seeking a third presidential term.

"No matter how people speculate about the ANC, it is different from other organisations. It has its own traditions, and nothing can be done outside of that," he said.

One such tradition is for ANC structures to elect presidential candidates. This is not determined by individuals themselves, Zuma said.

He hailed Mbeki's leadership qualities, saying the president is regularly consulted by leaders around the world on a variety of issues.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Mail and Guardian.