The Head of Policy of the African National Congress (ANC), Mr Jeff Radebe has thrown his hat into the ring in the race for the country’s top job.
Radebe confirmed at a Nelson Mandela Lecture in Nellmapius, near Pretoria on Monday night, that he is available to serve as the governing party’s leader and possibly the country’s next president.
The confirmation comes amid long-standing speculation of his intention to run.
“I’m a servant of the people. The branches are the structures of the organisation. We are what we are because of the branches of the ANC. I thank you for your confidence. I thank you for your trust, I’m prepared to serve the people,” the former minister told his cheering supporters.
Radebe believes his leadership would mark a break from business as usual; see the national development plan implemented, radical economic transformation advanced, corruption checked and integrity restored.
The Policy boss is unfazed by the recent scandal arising from his reported inappropriate sexual advances on a female government communications employee, which he brushes aside.
“I did address it. There is nothing else to add. I did make a public statement and it was widely circulated in the media; in some particular independent newspapers…that was in the past, we are going into the future now,” he told newsmen who raised the issue.
Radebe has served under every post-apartheid president in various ministerial positions since 1994, including minister of Justice and constitutional development, transport, public enterprises and as Minister in the Presidency.
Radebe joins fellow National Executive Committee member Lindiwe Sisulu and former party Treasurer Matthews Phosa in openly indicating his availability even before the nomination process begins in September.
Different factions of the ANC are known to be rooting for incumbent Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as well former chair of the African Union Commission and ex-wife of President Zuma, Dr Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma to take over the mantle of the country’s leadership in 2019.
Monitored/Tony Ekata/Sammie Idika