Mbeki’s letters ‘haven’t necessarily improved his reputation’

Mbeki’s foundation yesterday confirmed he’s decided not to write any more newsletters for the moment.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The Thabo Mbeki Foundation says the former president has decided not to write any more newsletters for the moment, but the foundation is still worried that lies are used more and more in the country's public discourse.

Earlier this year, Mbeki started writing newsletters, saying they were aimed at showing how claims he had been aloof and paranoid in office were wrong.

But many of his letters were criticised after he defended his Aids policies and appeared to attack several colleagues in the African National Congress (ANC).

Journalist and author Ray Hartley, who's written extensively about Mbeki's presidency, says the letters haven't necessarily improved his reputation.

"And there was criticism for some of the things that he said in his newsletter, so the old sarcasm came out again and so I don't think he's really hit the mark with the newsletters."

The foundation's CEO Max Boqwana says that regrettably there will be no regular articles from Mbeki while the foundation considers what to do next.

He also said that in his newsletters, the former president had sought to address the quality of the public discourse in the country and emphasised the need to stop the use of lies, fabrications and misrepresentations.

During his letters this year, Mbeki had claimed that many people used lies to advance their agendas in our public discourse.

He also used his newsletters to defend his policies on Aids and the economy but he refrained from making any direct comment about President Jacob Zuma.