Motlanthe to be acting president

The Union Buildings in Pretoria are the
seat of South Africa’s presidency.
(Image: South African Tourism)

Kgalema Motlanthe
(Image: Passia)

Mary Alexander

The African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, announced today that it is to appoint Kgalema Motlanthe as acting president of the country, following the resignation of Thabo Mbeki on Sunday, and has reassured investors that economic policies will remain unchanged..

Motlanthe, the deputy president of the party, is expected to assume office on Thursday 25 September.

Today, 11 Cabinet ministers and three deputy ministers resigned from their posts in the aftermath of Mbeki’s resignation, including South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel. The others are Mosiuoa Lekota (minister of defence), Essop Pahad (the presidency), Ronnie Kasrils (intelligence), Ngconde Balfour (correctional services), Alec Erwin (public enterprises), Mosibudi Mangena (science and technology), Thoko Didiza, Sydney Mufamadi (provincial and local government), and Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi (public service and administration).

The deputy ministers who resigned are Aziz Pahad (foreign affairs) Jabu Moleketi (finance) and  Loretta Jacobus (correctional services).

No change in economic policies

South Africa has seen unprecedented economic growth under the Mbeki presidency, and was highly regarded by the business community. On Monday, Zuma reassured investors that the transition would be smooth, with no changes in economic policies.

“We have to achieve sound economic growth and development, in spite of the global economic crisis,” the ANC president said. “Our economic policies will remain stable, progressive and unchanged, as decided upon in previous ANC national conferences, including Polokwane.”

Investors seemed unperturbed by Mbeki’s resignation, with the JSE, South Africa’s stock exchange, rising 1.93% yesterday and Fitch Ratings retaining SA’s BBB+ credit rating.

Zuma also briefed reporters about the priorities of the government under the new president.

“The ANC, led by its president and the NEC, will now focus energies on preparing for the 2009 elections and the new administration next year. After the elections, the ANC will take further the fight against crime to build safer communities, as stated in our Polokwane resolutions.

“We will focus more on improving the quality of health service delivery and the reduction of diseases such as HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and others.

“We will prioritise education and skills development, as well as land and agrarian reform, as key tools in the fight against poverty.”

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