Motlanthe says goodbye
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe put on a brave face this evening when he bade the ANC farewell after he lost the presidential race to President Jacob Zuma, who was elected for a second term today.
Motlanthe stepped down after 15 years as an ANC official, first for a decade as secretary general, then for five years as deputy president.
He also declined nomination as an additional member of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC), which means that he’s out of the ANC’s top leadership structures.
In an unusual move the party allowed Motlanthe to say a few words as the evening plenary at the party’s Mangaung conference for nominations to the NEC started.
His speech came a few hours after Zuma made his victory speech in the afternoon plenary session.
Clearing his throat before he started speaking, Motlanthe congratulated the leadership elected earlier in the day. “I wish them strength and wisdom as they lead the leagues and the structures of the ANC, but most of all, all South Africans,” he said.
He added that the party should continue promoting non-racialism, eliminating sexism, and eliminating economic inequalities.
He reminded delegates that the new leadership was elected by the entire membership of the ANC, and that they should continue their policy work in commissions at the conference “under the capable watch of the leadership we have elected”.
Motlanthe did not say anything about any possible future roles he would make himself available for in the ANC, although he previously told journalists he would be happy to do political education.
Delegates clapped warmly and chanted “ANC” as Motlanthe embraced each member of the party’s top six leadership before leaving the stage.