Blade flays 'Aids denialist' Mbeki
"None of yesterday's Aids denialists must come and lecture us today on leadership..."
SACP secretary-general and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has attacked former president Thabo Mbeki, calling him "yesterday's Aids denialist" who has joined the bandwagon of those who opportunistically complain about a lack of leadership in the ANC.
In the same breath Nzimande defended ANC leader and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa on the recent e-mail saga, saying the incident of police killing mineworkers was being used against the ANC.
"It is indeed criminality, what is the plot about that?" he asked.
Nzimande said it was wrong to suggest that the lives of 34 Lonmin mineworkers killed on August 16 in Marikana were more important than of those killed before them.
"The killings are still continuing today and nothing is said," he said.
Though Nzimande did not mention Mbeki's name, he reminded Mbeki, together with embattled Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota, that in their time as leaders "they left a highly questionable legacy".
"None of yesterday's Aids denialists must come and lecture us today on leadership when they have not accounted for the hundreds of thousands of deaths they left behind by refusing to acknowledge that HIV causes Aids, and denying our people ARVs."
Nzimande, who never saw eye to eye with Mbeki while he was president, was speaking at the party's four-day conference of commissars, the equivalent of a political school, in Midrand yesterday.
He said he was "slaughtered" at the time Mbeki was president when he spoke of a need to accept a scientific view on HIV-Aids.
During his term in 2000 Mbeki was criticised for his stance on Aids and has been accused, with deceased health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, of turning his back on the scientific consensus that HIV causes Aids.
In further defending Zuma, Nzimande questioned the "demonisation" of Zuma, saying "every Tom, Dick and Harry, including the dead that have woken up from their graves were crying lack of leadership".
In a veiled attack on Dali Mpofu, who represents the injured Marikana miners and those who were arrested, Nzimande said: "Some of these so-called lawyers are specialising in discrediting the movement rather than doing their genuine legal work."
On Tuesday Mpofu told a commission of inquiry into the deaths of mineworkers shot during the Marikana strike that Ramaphosa had called for stern action to be taken against those who had gone on strike.
He described their actions as "criminal".