17/12/2017 11:50 SAST | Updated 17/12/2017 11:50 SAST

Baleka Mbete Endorses Ramaphosa For ANC President

When asked what she made of Ramaphosa's chances, she said it looked "positive".

Masi Losi/ Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images
African National Congress (ANC) chairperson and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete during an interview on July 05, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Outgoing ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete says she will officially back Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for the party's top job.

Mbete told journalists in Nasrec late on Saturday night that she would officially back Ramaphosa's candidacy as the best long-term prospect for the party and country.

"It's no big deal really. It's the continuation of finalising the process on leadership," she said.

We publicly endorse comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, and we agree on how to maximise issues of unity in the organisation.

"It would be wrong to be limited on what we came to do here."

When asked what she made of Ramaphosa's chances, she said it looked "positive".

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She said she had not had the time to sit down with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to discuss the various issues.

Ramaphosa's campaign, though, had a more appealing, broader outlook for the future.

"The challenges faced by the movement and South africa, we could agree on a whole lot more.

Part of what this is, is that we give meaning to the term unity. We don't want unity to have no meaning.

Asked if she would be available for a top position, Mbete said: "I think so."

The announcement comes following a marathon first day at the party's national elective conference, that saw the party's programme begin seven hours late, and then stall over credentials.

Deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told delegates during the first open plenary that credentials for more than 5 000 delegates had not been finalised, and business could not proceed until they were.

Proceedings will resume at 09:00 on Sunday, as provinces prepare to duke it out over the final numbers allocated for each delegation, following numerous court judgments nullifying some regional elections.

-- News24