Cape Town – Former president Thabo Mbeki, known for his candid criticism of the African National Congress (ANC), has once more, expressed his discontent with the party’s current state and the country’s situation.
Speaking at the memorial service for his friend and former Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad, hosted by the ANC on Thursday evening at the University of Johannesburg, Mbeki seized the moment to appeal to the party to revive its past prestige.
Mbeki 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.
“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,” Mbeki said.
Mbeki criticised the ANC for failing to act on this document’s recommendations and for recommitting to the renewal resolution at the 2022 conference without making significant progress in the past ten months.
“Listening to other people in our society saying the ANC has betrayed them. It made me very sad. It is unfortunate that Aziz left us when he did, because what these people are saying is correct.
“The challenge we face, for those of us still alive, is how do we respond to that reality? I say it is unfortunate that Aziz left us when he did because he was ready to confront that truth and do something about it as the professional revolutionary he was.
“He did not betray anyone,” said Mbeki.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu