WikiLeaks: The day Mbeki cried

2011-09-05 07:30

A secret US document released on WikiLeaks details how former president Thabo Mbeki cried before announcing his resignation.

The document, dated September 5 2008, detailed a meeting between deputy director-general of policy co-ordination to the presidency, Vusi Gumede, analysts Thabileng Mothabi and Queeneth Mlaba, and US officials.

In the document, Gumede described how Mbeki thanked his cabinet, deputy ministers and staff with “tears streaming”, The Times reported. Mothabi, according to the document, referred to Kgalema Motlanthe, now deputy president, as “dumb” and Jacob Zuma, now president, as an “idiot”.

“Zuma is an idiot ... I mean really, really, dumb on how policy is implemented.”

Mothabi was also quoted as saying that Zuma would smile when asked a question, then lean closer to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to hear the answer.

Former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was described by Mothabi as “actually very smart”, but tempestuous.

“If the ‘tea woman’ serves someone who ranks below her first, Manto will stop everyone and yell at the ‘tea woman’,” he said.

Gumede and Mothabi have since left the presidency. The presidency would not comment on the matter, calling the leaked cables “rumours and gossip”.

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