Cape Town – ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula has acknowledged that the party is actively addressing the imperative of self-renewal.
Mbalula said this in response to a scathing critique by former president Thabo Mbeki last week.
Speaking at the memorial service for his friend and former Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad, hosted by the ANC on Thursday at the University of Johannesburg, Mbeki seized the moment to appeal to the party to revive its past prestige.
He said his sadness over views expressed at a recent inter-faith convention where many felt the ANC had betrayed the country during its three decades in power.
He revisited a crucial document from 2017, authored by Gwede Mantashe, warning about the pitfalls facing the party and its need for self-renewal.
“The fact of the matter is that we did not renew the ANC following the party conference resolution of 2017. That resolution was repeated by the conference of 2022. We are now in October and nothing has happened to renew the ANC,” he said.
He added: “They said the country was in crisis. That everywhere you go, it’s crisis. They spoke about a woman in the Eastern Cape who killed her three children and herself because they had no food.
Former President Thabo Mbeki on “receding power of the State” and the disconnect between today’s leaders and society. Mbeki also says ANC renewal has failed. pic.twitter.com/tGruAa1zru
— Soyiso Maliti (@soyiso_maliti) October 12, 2023
“They were not inventing stories about the level of poverty, the high crime rate, the degree of suicide among youngsters, the absence of wellness in our society. This is a signal of something going very wrong.”
Speaking to the press during the ANC’s NEC gathering in Boksburg on Saturday, Mbalula acknowledged that Mbeki’s criticism might have a valid basis.
He emphasised Mbeki’s senior status within the ANC and stressed the party’s need to welcome his remarks as “constructive criticism”.
[WATCH LIVE] ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula outlining the purpose of the National Executive Committee (NEC) happening at Birchwood,Boksburg. https://t.co/cRhX7HXqkP
— ANC SECRETARY GENERAL | fikile Mbalula (@MbalulaFikile) October 14, 2023
“Even if they have to raise it in public, in the midst of our enemies, it’s still fine with us.
“President Mbeki is a veteran of the ANC, he’s a stalwart, he’s decorated. When you see him, you see ANC itself. So, the issues that he raises about renewal, we are attending to them. We are almost one year from the conference. I’ve met with him several times and we have agreed on this,” Mbalula said.
He said that the ANC has adopted a renewal committee, which is working on both addressing unethical conduct among members and modernising the organisation.
Mbalula also mentioned the implementation of the step-aside rule for members accused of corruption and ongoing efforts to rectify issues raised by the ANC’s Integrity Commission.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu