It's comfortable for me now to say vote ANC, says Mbeki

Former president Thabo Mbeki is back on the road campaigning for the governing party 10 years after he was recalled as president of the country.
Former president Thabo Mbeki is back on the road campaigning for the governing party 10 years after he was recalled as president of the country.
Image: MDUDUZI NDZINGI

The ushering in of a "new dawn" has convinced ex-president Thabo Mbeki to openly campaign for the ANC more than 10 years since his removal from power.

Following his recall as SA president in 2008, Mbeki has never openly convinced anyone to vote for the ruling party.

"It becomes comfortable for me now to say vote ANC, the organisation is trying to make a detailed commitment," he told the media yesterday at the ANC pavilion at the Rand Show in Nasrec, Johannesburg. "It's made in specific terms and, in this context, we don't want to continue veering off course and say we have a good story to tell while we are off track.

"These are very important observations. It was very important that the ANC should say that, to say to the people of South Africa, we recognise that there are these things and the language is very strong. When you say that you veered off course, to veer off course, instead of going that way you go this way, that's a very serious observation to me."

The former president and his successor, Jacob Zuma, had a bitter relationship after Zuma's allies successfully voted Mbeki out as ANC president at the 2007 elective conference in Polokwane. A year later, he was recalled as SA president.

As a result, he has never endorsed the party ahead of the 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016 elections - a period when Zuma was at the helm of the ANC.

"You'll recall that for many years we had a different approach to this issue, with people saying we've got a good story to tell.

"As they were busy veering off course, they would say 'we've got a good story to tell'."

He said it would not have been an honest move for him to convince the people to vote for the ANC when he was aware of the rot that was taking place.

Turning to parliamentary and provincial legislature lists, Mbeki said the party's veterans were correct to raise their concerns, noting that the outcome of the governing party's integrity commission, which has been "vetting" the candidates, is yet to be made public.

The ANC veterans have called on those implicated in the different commissions of inquiry to step down.

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