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S.Africa's ANC to nominate new state Prez

world Updated: Sep 21, 2008 23:10 IST
S.Africa's ANC to nominate new state president

South Africa's ruling African National Congress will on Monday nominate a new state president after President Thabo Mbeki accepted a party call to resign, ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa said.

"What we want to do tomorrow is announce a new state president and he or she will then announce a new cabinet," Phosa told a current affairs show on state television Sunday, later clarifying that the party would announce a "nominee".

Phosa was discussing the party's decision to call for Mbeki to step down, shortly before the outgoing president was due to make a live address to the nation on his imminent resignation.

Mbeki convened a special cabinet meeting on Sunday afternoon at which he was expected to call on members of government to stay in office in the interests of stability.

Phosa denied the party was trying to oust members of the cabinet, after speculation key players such as Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka would also hand in their resignation.

"No we want them to stay. We are very happy if they stay and we do these things together. We really want stability and we want them to stay."

It is widely expected that parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete will take over as interim president until elections in April 2009.

Phosa said the call for Mbeki to resign was not an act of retribution, but a bid to unite the party behind one leader ahead of polls next year.

"We have done an assessment of what the problems are," said Mathews Phosa.

"It is internal stability and what will take us forward to the elections with the whole of the ANC behind one leader (party president Jacob) Zuma," he added.

Phosa denied the party decision was an act of political revenge against Mbeki.

"We are entitled to change leadership at anytime, it has got nothing to do with retribution, the masses out there are not stupid, they do know that there have been problems for some time. We want to propel the nation forward.

"We need to move on with the business of the people and ensure the nation moves on ... we should reconcile and heal from this and move on to the future."

Jacob Zuma, South Africa's ruling party chief and Mbeki's political rival, had been scheduled to appear on the same current affairs programme, but he pulled out at the last minute.

Mbeki, 66, who succeeded Nelson Mandela as president in June 1999, had been under pressure since a September 12 court ruling threw out a corruption case against Zuma.

The judge appeared to suggest that Zuma's claims that there had been political pressure to pursue the case against him had some foundation -- an allegation that the president's office denied.