Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, South African Politician   Leave a comment

Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe (pronounced [ˈkxɑ.lɪ.mɑ mʊ.ˈtɬʼɑ.n.tʰɛ])[1] (born 19 July 1949) is a South African politician who served as President of South Africa between 25 September 2008 and 9 May 2009, completing the second elected term of Thabo Mbeki.[2]

Following the end of his presidency, Motlanthe was appointed as the Deputy President of South Africa by his successor, current South African president Jacob Zuma. Motlanthe is also concurrently serving as Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC), a position he has held since 2007, likewise under Zuma who is also the current President of the ANC.

Motlanthe, who had maintained a low public profile, was elected to the presidency of South Africa by the South African National Assembly following the resignation of Mbeki, and was widely considered to be acting as a “caretaker president” on behalf of Zuma.[3] 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.[2]

Motlanthe was previously a student activist, trade unionist and member of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe during the struggle against South Africa under apartheid.[4] Today, 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 Jacob Zuma.[5][6] Motlanthe also holds the status of having been South Africa’s first Tswana-speaking president.[7]

  Early life

Motlanthe was born on 19 July 1949 in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, the son of a mineworker[8] and a garment worker, Sophie Motlanthe.[9] He attended the Anglican Missionary school now known as Pholoso Primary and matriculated from Orlando High School in Meadowlands, Soweto after his family was forcibly removed there in 1959.[9] The formative influence in his early years was the Anglican Church.[10] He served as an altar boy for many years and at one point thought of becoming a priest.

In the 1970s, while working for the Johannesburg City Council, he was recruited into Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC. He formed part of a unit tasked with recruiting comrades for military training.[11] On 14 April 1976, he was arrested for furthering the aims of the ANC and was kept in detention for 11 months at John Vorster Square in central Johannesburg. In 1977 he was found guilty of three charges under the Terrorism Act and sentenced to an effective 10 years imprisonment on Robben Island, from 1977 to 1987.[12][13] 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.”[10]

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 Cyril Ramaphosa.[8] He is married with two daughters and a son.[12]

 In Parliament

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.[14] The new ANC leadership, dominated by supporters of Jacob Zuma, applied pressure on President Thabo Mbeki to appoint Motlanthe to the cabinet. He became a Member of Parliament in May 2008[15] and in July was appointed to the cabinet by Mbeki as Minister without Portfolio. This was seen as a step towards a smooth transition to a future Zuma government.[16][17]

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 President Jacob Zuma said that his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, would become president until the 2009 general election: “I am convinced – if given that responsibility – he (Motlanthe) would be equal to the task.”[18][19]


On 25 September 2008, Kgalema Motlanthe was elected by Parliament as the third post-apartheid President of South Africa. The Chief Justice, Pius Langa, announced Motlanthe’s election after a secret parliamentary ballot contested between Motlanthe and Joe Seremane from the opposition Democratic Alliance.[20] In the ballot, Motlanthe gained 269 votes from the 351 cast.[21]

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.[22] 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[10] 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.[23]

President Motlanthe gave his first and only State of the Nation Address on 6 February 2009.[24]


Motlanthe is separated from his wife Mapula Motlanthe, a radiographer who used to work at Leratong Hospital in Mogale City. They were separated before he became President of South Africa.[25][26] He and his girlfriend businesswoman Gugu Mtshali, will reportedly move into a “Bali-style” rented mansion in Houghton, Gauteng.[27]


Posted March 6, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Politicians

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: