Solving SA’s challenges rests on ANC’s renewal - Mbeki

The former president of both the country and the ANC decried corruption in his party and its inability to deal with careerists who continue to thrive in the movement.

Former President Thabo Mbeki arrives in East London, in the Eastern Cape, for the African National Congress provincial executive committee meeting on 29 May 2021. Picture: @ANCECape/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Thabo Mbeki on Monday said if the African National Congress (ANC) didn’t achieve its objective of renewal, none of South Africa’s current challenges could be solved.

Mbeki was speaking in East London before an extended provincial executive committee meeting held by his party in the Eastern Cape.

The former president of both the country and the ANC decried corruption in his party and its inability to deal with careerists who continue to thrive in the movement.

Mbeki, who was ousted by his party as head of state in 2008, also revealed that he stopped campaigning for the ANC between the 2009 general and 2016 local government elections - saying he couldn’t go out lying to citizens for votes.

He said in 2019, the ANC admitted to its own mistakes, which saw him going back to the streets to campaign on its behalf.

“The leadership of the ANC used to communicate a false message, which was ‘we’ve got a good story to tell’ and I couldn’t imagine myself going around saying that to our people. We didn’t have a good story to tell.”

Mbeki said the ANC's two centres of power argument, which has seen numerous leaders playing official roles in both, the party and in government was wrong.

This also led to his own ousting in 2008 after some had called for the person elected to lead the party to also be its presidential candidate.

He has told party members in East London that there was no such thing as two centres of power, saying it was cooked up to achieve a certain objective.

The former president is slowly making his presence in the ANC felt once more; this after many years of withdrawing following his removal by the party as president.

Mbeki - without making mention of both his successor Jacob Zuma or embattled secretary general Ace Magashule - listed several cautionary tales as he spoke out against careerism and the need for the ANC to renew itself.

He also rubbished the two centres of power argument, which was used against him

“There’s no such thing. It was cooked up to achieve a particular objective.”

Mbeki - without mentioning the suspended secretary - questioned the decision of taking the ANC to court.

“[Members] who openly defy the decision of the NEC and even take the ANC to court to challenge the decision of the NEC. What is that?”

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