Former president Thabo Mbeki, ward councillor Roslyn Chinsamy and Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau outside Mbeki's home in Johannesburg. (Carien du Plessis, News24 Correspondent)
Johannesburg - Former president Thabo Mbeki emerged from a meeting at his Killarney home with ANC mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Parks Tau, on Tuesday morning clad in a puffy jacket with an ANC logo, which read: "Unity in action towards local government elections."
But Mbeki, who has not participated in the party’s elections campaigns for more than seven years now, still refused to reveal whether he would vote for the ANC, insisting that he told his local ward candidate, Rosslyn Chinsamy, “that’s a secret”.
He confirmed: “I will go and vote tomorrow.”
Despite a statement by the ANC in Gauteng saying that Tswhane metro mayoral candidate Thoko Didiza, who formerly served in Mbeki’s cabinet, and Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate Mzwandile Masina would also visit Mbeki, neither of them arrived.
Mbeki’s spokesperson Mukuni Ratshitanga said Mbeki’s office was informed that “they had to go on some last-minute emergency election work”, but Mbeki, who was in a business-like mood following the meeting, confirmed that he did expect them to visit.
“Go and vote tomorrow”
Tau’s visit followed on a visit by Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and a delegation from the party on Monday.
It was Tau’s second visit to Mbeki this month, and the former president claimed that DA leader Mmusi Maimane had also made a turn at his home ahead of the elections.
Asked why he did not campaign for the ANC this year, he said the campaign was in capable hands, “plus I had been wandering around the continent quite a bit – last week I was in Tanzania”.
Mbeki said representatives from the Electoral Commission briefed him on Monday “about the preparations they had made for the elections and all sorts of measures they had taken, and it seems to me from their reports on that side the necessary preparations had been made".
“The task remains for us as voters to go and vote tomorrow. I will go and vote tomorrow.”
Mbeki said it was important to have a big elections turnout “for the stability of the municipalities"
"The legitimacy of those who get elected depends in part on the participation of the population in that process.”
Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.