JOHANNESBURG, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Friday that entering the ANC's election race now would detract from his ability to lead.
Pressure had been mounting for ANC leaders to declare whether they planned to compete for the party's top job at Mangaung in December.
Speaking at Lead SA's second birthday at Montecasino, Motlanthe said he was elected to lead until December and that was exactly what he planned to do.
"It's not given to me to go out and campaign because if you do so than you lose the authority to lead. And my duty is to lead until December.
Motlanthe also offered harsh criticism of the Limpopo textbook crisis.
He described the saga as tragic, saying the problem should have been identified and fixed a lot earlier.
He refused to be drawn on whether Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga would be fired. Motlanthe said President Jacob Zuma should be given the space to study and act on a report into the crisis.
He said the problems should never have been allowed to drag on for months.
"We should have been aware of this problem in January and it should have been resolved in February."
He also warned against the dangers of corruption, which he said could choke the country's democracy.
Motlanthe added that he believed a solution was still possible in the e-tolling saga, which would avoid a court battle in November.