ANC NEC member Mathole Motshekga has lashed out at President Jacob Zuma, saying he has no right to prescribe who should be the organisation's next leader.
Zuma has said the ANC is ready for a female president, a move seen by many as an endorsement of former African Union Commission chairwoman and his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Motshekga said yesterday that ANC leaders were not nominated by decree, but by party branches.
“You don’t prescribe and say from ‘today we are going to have a female president’,” Motshekga said.
“We are all equal before the ANC constitution and rules, irrespective of whatever position we hold.”
Motshekga, who is also chairman of parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, has thrown his weight behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma as ANC leader and head of state should the party win elections in 2019.
“I endorse Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa because of the cultures and traditions of the ANC,” Motshekga said.
“There is a growing tendency to violate those cultures and traditions which are unwritten laws of the ANC and which over the years have guaranteed political stability and unity of the organisation.”
Motshekga said the tradition was that the deputy president, unless disqualified on serious grounds, succeeds the president.
“Oliver Tambo succeeded chief Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela succeeded Tambo.
“Thabo Mbeki succeeded Mandela. Zuma succeeded Mbeki,” he added.
However, last week Free State premier Ace Magashule, a known Zuma supporter, told Sowetan on the sidelines of the May Day rally in Bloemfontein that there was no tradition in the ANC that said the deputy president should become the president.
“I don’t know how people distort this history,” Magashule said.
“The ANC constitution says members have a right to be elected and have a right to elect.
“There is nowhere it says so and so will follow and the deputy secretary-general will be the secretary general.”
Without mentioning any names, Motshekga accused some ANC leaders of violating the party’s constitution by recruiting other leaders to join their faction.
“This is really disturbing because the people who are supposed to enforce the ANC constitution are the ones campaigning for ANC presidency position,” Motshekga concluded.