Mbeki urges current leadership to understand its constituents

The former president was asked his view of the current government during a panel discussion at Freedom Park.

FILE: Former President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki has suggested that the leadership of the country critically assess and understand where it stands with its constituents.

The former statesman was asked to give his evaluation of the current government during a panel discussion at Freedom Park in Pretoria.

Yesterday's event marked 20 years since the Constitution was adopted and Mbeki made his _I am an African _speech.

"I think what's clear to all of us is that there's a lot of restlessness in the country."

The former president shied away from directly responding to a request for him to give his evaluation of the country's current leadership.

Mbeki did, however, quote Bheki Cele's comments after addressing an empty rally, saying this was indicative of the state of the party.

"The people are disaffected, the people say these rallies don't work."

He welcomed President Jacob Zuma's call for a national dialogue, saying it formed critical parts of discussion around transformation.

Mbeki said the Constitution was a national contract that belonged to all and more South Africans needed to familiarise themselves with it.

"A lot of our people are not familiar with what this book constitutes."

The former statesmen gave a brief background on the journey to the formation of the Constitution.