Motlanthe 'agonising' over Zuma challenge
South Africa's Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday said he was "agonising" about whether to run against his boss, President Jacob Zuma, for leadership of the ruling African National Congress.
"I am still agonising over it," he said just hours after the ANC-controlled Province of Gauteng, the economic hub of the country, backed him to replace the increasingly unpopular Zuma as party president.
The party holds a leadership conference in just under three weeks and provinces are in the process of declaring whom they want for top party posts.
Given the ANC's electoral dominance, the leader of the party is almost certain to become the next president at elections in 2014.
Mr Motlanthe said the answer could only come once the ANC's regions had spoken.
"The question will be answered once it's posed by the right body," he said when pressed to give an indication of whether he will run if he garners enough party support.
"I may not even be nominated for all you know because the people who are making these announcements are not responsible for the process. They are doing so merely with the aim of influencing the process."
Asked about his relationship with Zuma, Motlanthe — who repeatedly said that he is not a politician but has "a political attitude" — replied: "He is my president. He has all the qualities of being a president of the ANC."
Meanwhile, A South African court Friday postponed the corruption case against former ANC firebrand Julius Malema, as the state added racketeering to the list of criminal charges against the fallen star of the ruling party.
Magistrate Janine Ungerer postponed the case to April 23, 2013, while Malema's lawyers indicated they intend to argue that the charges are politically motivated.
The adjournment means the case will not be heard before a crunch ANC conference in December that could see President Jacob Zuma, Malema's one-time ally-turned-nemesis, face a leadership challenge.
"We plan to argue that there was political influence in charging Mr Malema. We are aware of a meeting that took place in Cape Town before he was charged," Malema's lawyer Andre Bezuidenhout told the court.
Malema, who was kicked out of the African National Congress earlier this year for sowing indiscipline in the ruling party, appeared before Polokwane Magistrate's Court accused of using his political clout to win public contracts through a complex pyramid of companies.
Malema and his associates are accused of lying and influence-peddling to win an infrastructure contract worth $6.3 million.
He was initially charged with money laundering, which could result in up to 15 years in prison and a large fine.
Malema, formerly the leader of the ANC's Youth League, has alleged he is being prosecuted as punishment for his high-profile dispute with Zuma.
Malema told his supporters outside court that he was unfazed by the additional charges of racketeering, insisting that his only crime was exposing a lack of leadership in the ruling party.
"It does not matter whether there is racketeering or not, I am not scared," he said to loud cheers.
The court extended Malema's bail of 10,000 rand (945 euros, $1,215), which he was given in September.
Malema is one of post-apartheid South Africa's most divisive figures, notorious for his racially charged statements and his calls to nationalise mines and redistribute land and wealth to the black majority