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Mbeki gives reasons for stepping down in 2008

Thabo Mbeki says the only reason he agreed to leave office in 2008 was because the ANC asked him to.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki says the only reason he agreed to leave office in 2008 was because the African National Congress (ANC) asked him to.

He's was speaking at Unisa this afternoon in an event broadcast on Unisa radio.

Mbeki stepped down in 2008, after the ANC's national executive committee voted to recall him, following a judicial finding that he had interfered with the investigation into now President Jacob Zuma.

That finding was then overturned on appeal.

Mbeki was taking questions from students.

"[I left office] because the ANC said so. We didn't want to create particular tension around it."

Earlier, Mbeki said it was wrong for presidents to try and change the Constitutions of their countries while they're in office, just so they can stay in power.

He also said it was useless for African countries to argue who among them should represent the continent as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council when the current members haven't yet agreed to change the body's structure.

The former president said leaders on the continent need to be democratic.