JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South Africa President Jacob Zuma, the controversial leader facing intense criticism for a $30-million government-paid upgrade to his private house, will face competition next week to remain head of the ruling African National Congress party.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe announced Thursday he would accept a nomination to run against Zuma as president of the ANC.
The party vote essentially decides who will be the South African president after 2014 elections, with the ANC politically dominant and seen as certain to win the the top office. A party conference starts Sunday.
Zuma has been criticized over the work done at his home at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal. He also faced embarrassment over recent media revelations of lavish and reckless personal spending, well beyond his means, regularly defaulting on bank loans and repeatedly relying on friends in business and politics (including revered former president Nelson Mandela) to bail him out.
The publication in the weekly Mail and Guardian of a secret auditor's report detailing Zuma's chaotic personal finances raised new questions about the decision of South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority to drop corruption charges against Zuma just weeks before a general election in 2009.