President Jacob Zuma says he will “never ever” stand for a third term as ANC President.
“Even if they beg me I won’t stand,” he said.
Speaking to the press at the sidelines of the National General Council when the president went on a walkabout in the media centre, Zuma insisted that he has no interest in standing for a third term.
“I will never. No, I won’t,” a firm Zuma said.
Discussions of a third term for Zuma has surfaced in various structures of the ANC.
A few attendees at the conference made three-finger gestures – seemingly an indication that some support Zuma for a third term.
While Zuma cannot stand as state president for a third term there are no term restrictions as ANC president.
A regional leader from Mpumalanga told the M&G that the reception Zuma received when delivering his political report on Friday was an indication that “this was a president not ready to leave”.
But Zuma appeared hellbent he would not want to continue in his position, regardless of what ANC members and leaders want.
The M&G reported that the ANC in the North West was pushing for a realignment of Zuma’s term to end in 2018, a few months before the new state president needs to be elected.
This would align the ANC’s term of office to that of the state to avoid a situation where there are two centres of power that exist between ANC conferences and national elections.
Zuma further noted that discussions of succession in the ANC were not a problem and formed part of democratic processes.
“Democracy needs competition. It is allowed. I don’t know why people get scared when others say this is what we think,” he said.
He noted, however, that succession would not be discussed at the NGC.
Previously, the NGC was used as a breeding ground for succession plans but Zuma said this was not the case this year.