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Former ANC national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota said yesterday that the decision by former president Thabo Mbeki to stand against the initiative to form a breakaway party would not influence its success.
"Whether Thabo Mbeki is with us or not is irrelevant," Lekota said during a multiparty debate hosted by 702 yesterday.
He was responding to reports by ANC secretary Gwede Mantashe that Mbeki had written a letter to ANC president Jacob Zuma pledging his continued support for the party.
Yesterday Lekota accused the ANC of hypocrisy, saying "after dumping Mbeki the ANC is now dusting him off to use him in their election campaign".
Lekota and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa have criticised the manner in which the ANC recalled Mbeki as president of the country.
They have since initiated a move to form a breakaway party dubbed Shikota - a combination of their surnames.
Given their known support for Mbeki, there was a perception that Mbeki would support it. Some members of the ANC have even accused Mbeki of having a hand in the initiative.
Yesterday political analyst Steve Friedman said Mbeki's letter must be seen within the context of the tussle between the ANC and Shikota for the ANC's support.
He said the ANC did not want a situation where someone of Mbeki's political stature was seen to endorse or support the Shikota initiative.
A member of the ANC's national executive committee said though Mbeki was not going to lead an ANC election campaign, "the party was happy because he has not endorsed the dissidents. That is victory for the party".
ANC spokesman Jessie Duarte made an undertaking that her party would take disciplinary action against any member who disrupted meetings held by Shikota.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa yesterday welcomed the Shikota initiative, saying it was good for multiparty democracy.
"Never again should we have a two-thirds majority by the ruling party in this country," Holomisa said.
Democratic Alliance leader Sandra Botha said her party would go to the convention organised by Shikota "because the DA does not believe in standing outside while positive changes are happening in the country".
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said the fight between the ANC and Shikota would lead to voter apathy.