Viewers will decide on controversial Mbeki film

PARANOID: A film on Thabo Mbeki will be screened to the public. 28/06/07. Sowetan.

President Joaquim Chissano, left, marks his final visit to SA as Mozambique's leader with President Thabo Mbeki at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR 
© BD
PARANOID: A film on Thabo Mbeki will be screened to the public. 28/06/07. Sowetan. President Joaquim Chissano, left, marks his final visit to SA as Mozambique's leader with President Thabo Mbeki at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR © BD

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

The controversial documentary, Mbeki Unauthorized, which the SABC canned last year, will be screened at two separate venues in KwaZulu-Natal.

The screenings, to coincide with the ANC national policy conference, calls into question the "technocratic management style" and "political paranoia" of President Thabo Mbeki and his cabinet.

It is being seen by the organisers as an opportunity for the public to debate Mbeki's leadership style as the succession debate hots up.

The screening of the "director's cut" version of the film at a Durban hotel last night and at the Ocean Conference Centre on Durban's beachfront tonight is the first time that the public will get to see the film.

Patrick Bond, director of the Centre for Civil Society and one of the organisers of the screening, said the film served as a critical synopsis for the style of political leadership that people do not want.

"Though the SABC will show the edited version of the film at some point in the future, we are against the public broadcaster's censorship policy. The screening of the movie tonight will be preceded by a panel discussion on political leadership in the early 21st century," Bond said.

"From Brazil to South Africa to Asia, political leaders of middle-income countries are combining free-market economic strategies with political populism that amounts to mere leftwing posturing. This documentary shows that the South African government talks left and walks right."

The panelists at tonight's discussion will include Ben Cashdan, one of the makers of the film, Philippines author Walden Bello and anthropologist Moema Miranda.

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