/ 14 March 2024

Mbeki confirms he will campaign for ANC

Former president Thabo Mbeki.

After months of speculation about whether former president Thabo Mbeki would campaign for the ANC, he has endorsed the party, saying it was his “obligation” to make a contribution. 

In an interview with the SABC on Wednesday on the sidelines of an event at University of South Africa, Mbeki said he would campaign for the party, Mbeki said: “I am a member of the ANC. Of course I have got an obligation as a member of the ANC. We have to make our own contribution to engage the population.” 

Last year, Mbeki had been noncommittal about whether he would campaign for the governing party. 

In an interview with Eyewitness News last year, Mbeki said that his answer to whether he would campaign for the ANC was “outstanding”, saying there were many things going wrong in the party that were not being attended to. 

Mbeki has recently criticised the ANC and its president, Cyril Rampahosa, for failing to implement its renewal project. 

During the Unisa interview, Mbeki also weighed in on the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) call to the Western world to send observer missions to the 29 May elections. 

The DA sent a letter to Washington and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for it to observe the elections. 

Mbeki said it was not the responsibility of political parties to make that call, but rather that of the Electoral Commission of South Africa. 

He said he had recently been invited to Nigeria by its elections committee, together with the US mission, to observe the elections. 

“In this case, I think the DA is making a statement about itself that it doesn’t trust our open process. It doesn’t trust our own capacity to handle our elections. It doesn’t trust all of the other people who are invited. The people they trust is effectively the white world. That is the statement about the DA itself. Our electoral commission here has handled elections since ’94,” he said. 

The statesman also lambasted the tenure of his successor, former president Jacob Zuma, accusing him of destroying the South African Revenue Services (Sars).

He added that the uMkhonto weSizwe Party was led by people who had attempted to destroy state institutions. 

Mbeki said of the Nugent Commission, chaired by retired judge Robert Nugent and set up to investigate tax administration and governance at Sars: “The Nugent Commission says, I am summarising, that some people took a decision to destroy the institution. Now that’s a very remarkable statement because Sars is responsible for 95% to 98% of state revenue.” 

The Nugent Commission recommended that the national director of public prosecution consider criminal prosecution for the awarding of a contract to Bain & Company for the restructuring of Sars, which almost led to the revenue service’s collapse.

Nugent also suggested that Sars consider “reparations” to those ousted by the then commissioner, Tom Moyane.

Mbeki said destroying Sars was tantamount to destroying the democratic state. “If you take away these revenues it won’t be possible for the state to succeed. Those are people who didn’t like our democracy and wanted something else.”

He said Zuma participated in a process to destroy the institution that gave him the means to govern. “It’s a contradiction that raises the question, who indeed is this president, because there is no way you are going to behave or be able to square the circle that the president of the Republic of South Africa acts to destroy the revenue services.”

Mbeki added that the state capture report compiled by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo also showed that Zuma was among the people who were responsible for destroying the revenue service.

“And it says in black and white that Jacob Zuma was part of the leadership process to destroy Sars. That’s not my opinion, I am telling you what the Zondo commission says,” he said.

“That’s a bit of a conundrum that you would have the president of the Republic of South Africa participating in a process to destroy the institution that gives him the means to govern.”