ANC Split Widens as Leader of S. African Province Resigns
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Johannesburg — The leader of South Africa’s richest province resigned yesterday, heightening speculation about a split in the ruling African National Congress.
Mbhazima Shilowa, a supporter of the ousted President Mbeki, had been provincial premier of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, for almost 10 years.
He said he had quit in protest at the ousting of Mr. Mbeki by the party executive.
“I am resigning due to my convictions that while the ANC has the right to recall any of its deployed cadres, the decision needs to be based on solid facts, be fair and just,” he said.
Mr. Mbeki’s departure was the culmination of a year-long power struggle with Jacob Zuma, a populist who deposed him from the party leadership last year.
Mr. Shilowa has been linked several times to rumors that a group of senior party figures are planning a breakaway from the ANC.
However, he pleaded ignorance yesterday.
“I know of no group who is starting another new
party,” he said. “I cannot be party to something I do not know.”
A spokesman for the ANC said the party was “not concerned” by the move.