The ANC leadership will nominate a new president at a meeting on Monday morning following President Thabo Mbeki’s announcement of his resignation at the weekend, a spokesperson said.
“The NEC [national executive committee] has mandated the officials of the ANC to discuss some options. As you know, we are the ruling party and as the ruling party, we will put a preferred candidate before the ANC caucus in Parliament,” said ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte.
“We understand that it is Parliament that elects the president,” she added.
An announcement on the party’s preferred candidate to stand in for Mbeki until general elections next year will be made in Johannesburg at noon, said Duarte.
National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete has been seen as the front runner to replace Mbeki, as well as ANC Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Despite initial reports that Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka would resign along with Mbeki, she is still said to be in the running. Mlambo-Ngcuka could therefore take over from Mbeki, according to the Consititution.
The uncertainties inherent in Mbeki’s departure from office need to be managed “extremely carefully” and the effect on South Africa’s consolidating democracy must be not underestimated, the Helen Suzman Foundation said.
“These events happen to unfold at a dramatic time inglobal financial markets where there is unprecedented turmoil and a shying away from emerging market economies,” it said on Monday.
South Africa, as a key emerging market, could hardly afford “self-inflicted uncertainties” about economic policy or who would be responsible for developing it.
A clear effort must be made to rebuild and not simply replace one office incumbent with another for political expediency, it continued.
“Whilst it is the ruling party’s prerogative to alter its leadership, it must not do so with scant regard for the impact of its actions on increasing the uncertainty profile of the country for investors, both domestic and foreign and existing and prospective alike.”
The rand treaded weaker ground against the dollar on Monday, rattled in part by Mbeki’s resignation, but traders said the currency would take its cue more from global market activity than local politics.
At 6.49am GMT the rand was 1,76% weaker at 8,05 versus the greenback after closing on Friday at 7,9105.
Mbeki handed his resignation letter to the speaker of Parliament on Sunday and in an unusually humble speech broadcast on the South African Broadcasting Corporation said he had decided to quit out of loyalty to the party that is rejecting him.
“I have been a loyal member of the African National Congress for 52 years. I remain a member of the ANC and therefore respect its decisions. It is for this reason that I’ve taken the decision to resign as president of the republic,” he said.
But Mbeki “categorically” denied the central accusation against him that was the immediate cause of his forced resignation.
ANC leaders moved against the president after prosecutors said they would appeal against a high court decision that threw out corruption charges against Zuma, and accused Mbeki and his officials of abusing the courts as part of the power struggle over control of the party.
The president said he and his Cabinet had not interfered in decisions as to who to prosecute. “This applies equally to the painful matter relating to the court proceedings against the president of the ANC, comrade Jacob Zuma,” he said. m&g online