Former ANC president Thabo Mbeki standing next to portraits of other leaders of the party. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)
Former president Thabo Mbeki says it would have been dishonest of him to campaign for the ANC in previous years while it was "veering off course".
Mbeki was speaking at the Rand Easter Show on Tuesday afternoon, while campaigning for the ANC ahead of elections next month.
Mbeki started off by referring to the ANC’s manifesto and lauded the section where it admits to having made mistakes.
"For many years, as you will recall, we have had different approaches to issues. People have been saying that we [ANC] have a good story to tell," Mbeki said.
"The language the manifesto uses is 'we have veered off course', in acknowledging that it has made mistakes. It also speaks about the consequences thereof, being corruption and lack of integrity."
He said these were very important observations and that it was up to the ANC to recognise [their mistakes] and to say to the people of South Africa, "we recognise that there are these things [we have done wrong], and the language is very strong when you say that you have veered off course."
Mbeki was joined by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula.
The former president has, in the past, opted not to campaign for the ANC.
"As we were veering off course, there were people saying we have a good story to tell..." Mbeki did not finish this train of thought, opting rather to answer the question of why he has now chosen to be involved in ANC campaigning ahead of the May 8 elections.
"In that period, I could not, in all honesty go to a person and say, 'vote ANC', knowing very well the wrong things that were happening. It would not be honest of me," Mbeki explained.
Mbeki also touched on the ANC’s party lists, saying he had problems with some of the names that appeared, but said he respected the integrity committee process to review the lists.
The committee was roped in by the ANC's national executive committee to review its lists of national and provincial candidates.