Thabo Mbeki: If ANC fails, South Africa will fail too

Former African National Congress (ANC) president Thabo Mbeki criticised the declining quality of party members and the lack of capacity in departments at local government while campaigning at an event with business professionals on Thursday night.

Former ANC president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Former African National Congress (ANC) president Thabo Mbeki has called on the nation to hold the party to its promises, warning that if the governing party really was too big to fail and if it did let South Africa down, then the country would fail too.

Mbeki, who has been visibly absent from the ANC’s campaigns from the time he was recalled in 2008 until 2019, spent Thursday night engaging with business professionals as he campaigned for the governing party ahead of the local government elections.

During his speech, he criticised the declining quality of party members and the lack of capacity in departments at local government.

He pointed out that when it came to roping in resourceful roleplayers, including the private sector, most were willing to assist steer the country in the right direction, only to be failed by government.

This was a welcome sight for many who threw questions and hurled criticism at government’s approach to black business, while some simply wanted advice on how to help the ANC government from its former president.

He in turn, brought back concerns about the declining quality of party members, even cracking a joke about an ANC member who had no idea who the former leader was when Mbeki returned a telephone call to ANC provincial offices in the Western Cape.

"So I say 'OK' and then he says: 'Who are you?' So I told him and I said my name is so and so. 'What company do you work for?'" Mbeki joked.

Mbeki reminded those gathered at the event that the ANC still had to see through its 2017 Nasrec resolution of organisational renewal, adding that this would include dealing with certain members who did not reflect the values of the party.

"Because the ANC with its weight and its size, this is the governing party. If this governing party misbehaves, it has a very negative impact on the country," Mbeki said.

He said that the ANC has to be rescued, arguing that its collapse would mean a similar fate for the country.

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