Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe (Tswana pronunciation: [ˈkxɑ.le.mɑ mʊ.ˈtɬʼɑ.n.tʰɛ]; born 19 July 1949) is a South African politician who served as President of South Africa between 25 September 2008 and 9 May 2009, following the resignation of Thabo Mbeki.
|3rd President of South Africa|
25 September 2008 – 9 May 2009
|Preceded by||Thabo Mbeki|
|Succeeded by||Jacob Zuma|
|6th Deputy President of South Africa|
9 May 2009 – 26 May 2014
|Preceded by||Baleka Mbete|
|Succeeded by||Cyril Ramaphosa|
|8th Deputy President of the African National Congress|
18 December 2007 – 18 December 2012
|Preceded by||Jacob Zuma|
|Succeeded by||Cyril Ramaphosa|
|14th Secretary-General of the African National Congress|
18 December 1997 – 18 December 2007
|Preceded by||Cyril Ramaphosa|
|Succeeded by||Gwede Mantashe|
Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe
19 July 1949
Boksburg, Transvaal, Union of South Africa
|Political party||African National Congress|
|Spouse(s)||Mapula Motlanthe (m. 1976–2010) |
After the end of his presidency, Motlanthe was appointed as the Deputy President of South Africa by his successor, Jacob Zuma. Motlanthe served as Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 2007 until 2012, when he declined to run for a second term. At the 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress, Motlanthe ran for the position of President of the ANC but was soundly defeated by Zuma, who won re-election. He was succeeded as Deputy President of South Africa by Cyril Ramaphosa in 2014.
Motlanthe, who had maintained a low public profile, was elected in 2008 to the presidency of South Africa by the South African National Assembly following the resignation of Mbeki, and he was widely considered to be acting as a "caretaker president" on behalf of Zuma. Zuma succeeded Motlanthe on 9 May 2009 in a presidential election held by the South African National Assembly, following the 2009 general election which had been won by the ANC.
Motlanthe had been a student activist, trade unionist and member of the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, during the struggle against apartheid. Motlanthe, a left-leaning intellectual, is seen as a highly skilled political operator within the politics of South Africa, and a key figure behind the success of Zuma. Motlanthe was South Africa's first Sotho-Tswana-speaking president.
Early life and educationEdit
He was born on 19 July 1949 at the Boksburg-Benoni Hospital. He grew up in Alexandra, Johannesburg, Transvaal (now Gauteng). His parents, Louis Mathakoe Motlanthe, a cleaner, and Masefako Sophia Madingoane (d. 2014), a domestic worker, married in 1946.
Motlanthe (also known as Mkhuluwa, the elder one) has two younger brothers, Tlatlane Ernest and Lekota Sydney.
Motlanthe's maternal grandfather, Kgalema Marcus Madingoane and his grandmother, Louisa Mmope Sehole lived in Apex, a squatter camp in Benoni East Rand Old Location where they moved to in search of work. Here, Madingoane became involved in community affairs and eventually became a Councillor in Apex. He was instrumental in founding the township of Daveyton in 1955 where he ran a funeral parlour and a general dealership.
Motlanthe returned to Alexandra and enrolled in Grade 1 at an Anglican Missionary School. The school was eventually closed when the administration refused to implement Bantu Education. Then, he attended the Totomeng Lower primary School in Meadowlands and then went to Meadowlands Secondary School, walking several kilometres to and from school.
Motlanthe's parents were practising Christians, which influenced his outlook on life. He served as an altar boy and at one point intended to enter the Anglican priesthood. Family and friends described him as a gentle and kind person.
In 1964, the Anglican Church awarded him a bursary to attend St Christopher's in Swaziland to complete his secondary schooling and then enter the priesthood. His application for travel documents to the Bantu Affairs Department was turned down, and he was informed that he had to study in South Africa. He then enrolled at Orlando High School in Orlando, Soweto.
His political interest was aroused after reading a book by Anglican priest Trevor Huddleston, Naught for Your Comfort. The Black Panther Movement in the United States and the rising Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa also played a role in shaping his political awareness.
Whilst at high school, he worked part time at a bottle store in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. In 1969, he began work in the Johannesburg City Council, supervising liquor outlets in Soweto. Stan Nkosi, his closest friend and comrade, Siphiwe Nyanda, former minister of communications and George Nene, deputy director general in the foreign affairs department also worked in this unit at various times. Together they later joined the ANC's military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). During the seven years that he worked there, Motlanthe was able to engage in underground work such as going almost weekly to Manzini, Swaziland couriering ANC recruits for military training.
He attended the Anglican Missionary school now known as Pholoso Primary and matriculated from Orlando High School in Orlando, Soweto after his family was forcibly removed there in 1959. The formative influence in his early years was the Anglican Church. He served as an altar boy for many years and at one point thought of becoming a priest.
ANC membership and imprisonmentEdit
In the 1970s, while working for the Johannesburg City Council, he was recruited into Umkhonto we Sizwe, the paramilitary wing of the ANC. He formed part of a unit tasked with recruiting potential members for paramilitary training. On 14 April 1976, he was arrested on terrorism charges and was kept in detention for 11 months at John Vorster Square, in central Johannesburg. In 1977, he was convicted of three charges under the Terrorism Act and sentenced to an effective 10 years' imprisonment on Robben Island, from 1977 to 1987. According to the 1977 Survey of Race Relations, "they were alleged to have undergone training for sabotage, promoted ANC activities, and received explosives for sabotage. All pleaded not guilty. Mr Justice Human found Nkosi and Mothlanthe [sic] guilty and sentenced them to effective jail sentences of 10 years each. Mosoeu was acquitted."
On his years in prison:
"We were a community of people who ranged from the totally illiterate to people who could very easily have been professors at universities. We shared basically everything. The years out there were the most productive years in one's life, we were able to read, we read all the material that came our way, took an interest in the lives of people even in the remotest corners of this world. To me those years gave meaning to life."— Kgalema Motlanthe
Shortly after his release, he was elected Secretary-General of the National Union of Mineworkers. In January 1992, the Central Executive Committee elected him acting general secretary in January over Marcel Golding, and in 1997, he was elected Secretary-General of the ANC, replacing Ramaphosa.
Motlanthe was elected Deputy President of the African National Congress at the party's 52nd National Conference in Polokwane in December 2007, defeating the Mbeki camp's choice of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The new ANC leadership, dominated by supporters of Jacob Zuma, applied pressure on Mbeki to appoint Motlanthe to the cabinet. He became a Member of Parliament in May 2008 and in July was appointed to the cabinet by Mbeki as Minister without Portfolio. That was seen as a step towards a smooth transition to a future Zuma government.
Following a resolution by the ANC National Executive Commission to "recall" Mbeki from the presidency, Mbeki announced his resignation on 20 September 2008. On 23 September, Nathi Mthethwa, the ANC's Chief Whip, announced that Mbeki's resignation would take effect on 25 September 2008, and ANC Presiden Zuma said that his deputy, Motlanthe, would become president until the 2009 general election: "I am convinced – if given that responsibility – he (Motlanthe) would be equal to the task."
On 25 September 2008, Motlanthe was elected by Parliament as the third post-apartheid President of South Africa. Chief Justice Pius Langa announced Motlanthe's election after a secret parliamentary ballot contested between Motlanthe and Joe Seremane from the opposition Democratic Alliance. In the ballot, Motlanthe gained 269 votes from the 351 cast.
Although he has been criticised for standing by Mbeki's "soft and non-confrontational" approach towards the Zimbabwean crisis, he was quite critical of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change. Furthermore, his criticisms of emerging black capitalists and that Black Economic Empowerment was that it should be "restricted to one deal [per individual] and that what was needed was genuine economic transformation that benefitted the Black masses rather than creating an elite club of Black millionaires" has earned him the "resentment of budding Black capitalists."
Over HIV/AIDS, Motlanthe is accused of regurgitating Mbeki's now widely-discredited denialism. However, he changed his stance on ARVs following the government's decision of a mass rollout programme.
Motlanthe has expressed his desire to address AIDS in South Africa using conventional scientific approaches. He appointed Barbara Hogan to replace Mbeki's health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who had denounced anti-retroviral drugs as poisons and advised the use of olive oil, garlic, and beetroot by HIV-positive persons. In early March 1998 he led the ANC's charge against the Medicines Control Council for refusing to allow the testing of Virodene on human subjects. He suggested that the MCC was acting under the sway of rival pharmaceutical manufacturers saying "I surmise that the council is driven by other interests than concern for proper control of medicines".
Motlanthe caused some controversy in South Africa when he did not reinstate the Head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Vusi Pikoli in December 2008. Pikoli, the head of the NPA, was suspended by Mbeki in 2007. Just prior to this Pikoli obtained an arrest warrant for the Commissioner of Police and head of Interpol, Jackie Selebi. The media speculated that Mbeki tried to shield Selebi. As President, Motlanthe recommended to Parliament that Pikoli be fired even though the [Frene] Ginwala Commission of Inquiry advised otherwise. Motlanthe was widely criticised for his action by the Parliamentary Opposition and the media. He strongly denied that he succumbed to political pressure from the ANC.
Motlanthe gave his first and only State of the Nation Address on 6 February 2009.
Deputy Presidency (2009–2014)Edit
Motlanthe had no ambition to occupy any government position in the 2009 elections. His aim was "to ensure that the new president is properly inaugurated." For Motlanthe, "the ANC came first." Zuma chose Motlanthe for the position of Deputy President.
The Protection of State Information Bill, another highly contentious issue, was strongly opposed by the official opposition, the media and the public. The ANC rejected "the inclusion of a public interest clause in the Bill" despite strenuous opposition from all sectors of society. When the ANC rejected the clause, Motlanthe argued that “the clause does not exist anywhere in the world." He also urged the ANC "not to ram the Bill through Parliament." However, after strenuous objection from various quarters, the ANC's MPs passed the bill, with proposed amendments, in the National Council of Provinces in December.
Motlanthe was involved in an alleged bribery incident in 2012. Barry Oberholzer alleged that Motlanthe and his associates had met up with him to discuss potential governmental backing for Oberholzer's helicopter sales to the National Iranian Oil Company, which would have violated United Nations sanctions. The paper stated that Gugu Mtshali, Motlanthe's partner, was involved in a 104 million rand bribe to obtain support for a South African company that was attempting to sell helicopters to Iran in violation of sanctions. In an attempt to clear his name, he took the matter to the Public Prosecutor to investigate. The Public Prosecutor's report did not implicate either of the two.
Relationship with ANCYLEdit
Following Zuma's election to the presidency in 2009, the ANCYL and its leader, Julius Malema, drifted apart from the president. Zuma owed much to Malema and the ANCYL in being elected as the head of the ANC in Polokwane. At one stage, Malema had declared that he was prepared "to kill for Zuma." However, by 2008, Motlanthe was warning that Malema and ANCYL leaders were "to be reigned when they behaved unacceptably."
Motlanthe himself had been at the receiving end of criticisms by the ANCYL and Malema. Tension between Zuma and Malema was exacerbated following the public sector strike in 2010. Following the attack of Malema and the ANCYL on the Botswana government, he and other leaders were expelled from the ANC in 2011. Motlanthe felt that Malema ought not to have been expelled but that the ANC should have engaged with the errant ANCYL members.
2012 presidential campaignEdit
Motlanthe was nominated for the positions of President, Deputy President and NEC member of the ANC at its National Elective Conference in December 2012 at Mangaung. Media reports stated that Motlanthe would be standing for election at the conference.
Motlanthe ran for the position of President of the ANC at the party's 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress against the incumbent, Zuma. On 18 December, he was soundly defeated by Zuma. Since he did not run for re-election as Deputy President, he was not successful in returning to the top six leaders of the ANC. He then announced he would not seek a seat on the party's NEC.
Speculation has abounded that the ANC could recall him from the deputy presidency, but analysts correctly predicted that for the sake of unity, Motlanthe would complete his tenure until he was succeeded by Ramaphosa.
Motlanthe announced his resignation from government and parliament on 12 March 2014, alongside outgoing National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel. Motlanthe is set to become the dean of the ANC's political school.
In 1975, he married Mapula Mokate, from Sophiatown. She was a radiographer who used to work at Leratong Hospital in Mogale City and Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. The couple are divorced and have three children; Kagiso, Kgomotso and Ntabiseng. They were separated before he ascended to the presidency in 2008. He exchanged gifts with businesswoman Gugu Mtshali in March 2014 in preparation for a Gauteng wedding. He reportedly moved into a "Bali-style" rented mansion in Houghton, Gauteng. Motlanthe married Mtshali in May 2014. The wedding was attended by 300 guests including then-President Jacob Zuma.
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