Meer: I'm still in the ANC, but I'm critical

2008-11-16 00:00

Liberation struggle icon Professor Fatima Meer has declared her “so-called defection” to the Congress of the People (Cope) as false and said she deplores the manner in which it has been publicised. She also congratulated the ANC for spawning its own opposition.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Meer said she had welcomed Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota as an old friend to her home on a private visit and was totally unaware that he was travelling with a battery of media persons.

Congratulating the ANC for spawning its own opposition, she reiterated that she has neither left the ANC nor joined the new party. “A healthy democracy needs an effective opposition, whether Cope will be that is yet to be seen,” Meer said.

She added that she has criticised the ANC in the past and still remains critical of it. “I hope to deepen my discussion with the leadership, particularly with regard to the concerns of civil society. The ANC has to review its performance and has ahead of it an enormous task of eliminating poverty and establishing equality. It is therefore my resolve to remain in the ANC and work for the implementation of the Freedom Charter,” Meer said.

Her statement was read out by her younger brother and secretary of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) , Dr Farouk Meer, at an activist forum organised by the ANC at the Durban City Hall yesterday. He reminded the audience that his sister was 80-years-old and suffered with poor eyesight. Farouk said on the same day that Lekota visited his sister he had also called on him.

“He is a good friend whom I worked with closely during the days of the UDF [United Democratic Front].”

Farouk described the meeting as cordial and that Lekota had raised a range of concerns including crime, corruption, arrogance within the ANC, attacks on the judiciary, intimidatory rhetoric and poor service delivery.

“My response to him was that I agreed with everything he said and that as a democrat it was entirely his right to form a party and that it was also my democratic right to try and remedy these problems within the organisation itself,” Farouk said.

KZN ANC chairman Dr Zweli Mkhize thanked Meer for her statement saying the party appreciates her criticism.

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