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I won't stand for third term, Mbeki tells imbizo

By unknown | Oct 08, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Residents of Uthukela District municipality exploited an exceptional opportunity to fire questions at President Thabo Mbeki, his ministers and their provincial counterparts, led by Premier Sbu Ndebele.

This rare opportunity presented itself during the weekend presidential imbizo.

Impoverished communities came out in numbers to plea for service delivery during a two-day imbizo at Uitvaal stadium in Ladysmith, northern KwaZulu-Natal, which started on Saturday.

Mbeki received a warm reception as he mingled with people for the first time since high-ranking ANC officials had been accused of attempting to make the province a no-go area for him.

The visit is seen as a strategy to gain popularity ahead of the ANC national conference in Limpopo in December.

The province is very supportive towards his fellow comrade, ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma.

Communities complained about lack of access to basic needs such as water, housing, education and job opportunities.

The impact of HIV and Aids, now a major cause of deaths in the district, featured as one of the crucial concerns.

ANC and IFP councillors were accused of failing to effect service delivery but instead demanded membership cards as a precondition to get assistance.

There was a moment of excitement when Sinenhlanhla Mdakane asked Mbeki to come out clear about his position on serving a third term in high office.

Mbeki said he had no motives to stand for a third term as the country's president.

"You cannot stay in this position for too long. It's not a hereditary position that can be passed onto my son. We should not be begging to change our constitution," he said.

Meanwhile, Mbeki shared Ndebele's earlier sentiments, in which he noted the presence of white people.

"We should learn to live and work together and build our new South Africa," said Mbeki.

Mbeki said they have noted people's concerns over service delivery and these will be addressed. He ordered IFP and ANC leaders to fire councillors who demand political card membership to service people.


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