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ANC response to DA leader by Kgalema Motlanthe

4 February 2004

ANC Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe sent a letter to DA leader Tony Leon today (4 February 2004) in response to a letter addressed by Leon to President Thabo Mbeki on the issue of the term of office of the President. The full text of the letter is below:

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Mr Tony Leon MP
Leader of the Official Opposition
National Parliament
Cape Town

Dear Mr Leon,

Re: Tenure of Office of the President

For reasons I will explain, President Mbeki has asked me to respond to your letter to him, dated 30 January 2004.

This matter of your letter was raised among the Officials of the ANC, and, given the nature of its content, I was instructed to respond.

Contrary to your assertion, the matter to which you refer was never mooted by President Mandela. He was responding to a concern expressed to him that we might take a decision to extend the term of office of the President. He dismissed this concern unequivocally.

Any decision by the ANC to propose a change to any important provision in the Constitution of our country would be taken by the senior organs of our movement, and not by the President. Such a decision would have to involve at least our National Executive Committee.

The matter you raise, of the length of tenure of office of the President, has never arisen within our organisation ever since the Constitution was adopted. We have received no indication that this issue will be tabled at any time in the future.

Neither the ANC nor the President has raised this matter either publicly or privately. Other people, evidently including you, have spoken about this issue. We have no power to stop you or anybody else from discussing this or any other issue.

But we will not be party to your gratuitous efforts to derive some sort of political mileage from something that is to all intents and purposes a non-issue.

Yours sincerely,

Kgalema Motlanthe
Secretary General

More information:
Smuts Ngonyama 082 569 2061

Issued by:
African National Congress