Mbeki turns down ANC nomination

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

Former president Thabo Mbeki has retired from politics and has "no intention" of holding a position in government again.

This was revealed by his spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, pictured, in a statement yesterday.

Ratshitanga also said Mbeki would turn down his nomination for the list of National Assembly candidates.

ANC provincial secretary David Makhura said the list would be "finalised" at a provincial list conference on Saturday in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Makhura declined to say why ANC members wanted "someone who was sacked because he did not perform as a president" - but said it was the ANC members' democratic right to nominate "anyone" they felt would meet their requirements as an MP.

Questions were also raised about the inclusion on the list of former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni. One of the prerequisites of being an MP is not to have a criminal record.

Makhura assured the media that no one with a criminal record would be on the final list.

But some ANC insiders feel the party had made life difficult for itself by setting such a broad condition on the issue of criminality.

They argued that the party could have used the national prerequisite for MPs - which is that no one could be elected who had received a sentence of more than 12 months without the option of a fine.

Makhura said the ANC was not concerned about claims that the Congress of the People (Cope) was making inroads into the ruling party's support base.

"ANC voters are clear who they want to vote for. They are not confused," he said.

Makhura said the ANC had Cope to thank for "reviving the complacent ANC supporter, who had been saying 'I'm not going to vote because the ANC will win the elections anyway' ."