ANC faces threat of its own members - Thabo Mbeki

2017-10-27 22:57
Thabo Mbeki (File, Aljoscha Kohlstock, News24)

Thabo Mbeki (File, Aljoscha Kohlstock, News24)

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Johannesburg – Former president Thabo Mbeki pulled no punches when he spoke at the OR Tambo lecture on Friday evening, saying that the ANC was under threat by its own members.

At the lecture, held at Wits University, he pointed a finger at the party’s current leadership for allowing the destruction of the movement.

Mbeki described how the ANC had faced numerous threats in the past 105 years of its existence, but added that none was greater than the threat it faces today.

"By 1960, the ANC faced yet another threat of destruction. Members of the ANC successfully intervened to address this threat, and today the ANC faces ANC members," he said.

He questioned whether the ANC had the required members to successfully intervene in the threat to its survival.

Those claiming to be admirers of Tambo have an obligation to act in a manner that lives up to his example, he said.

His assertion comes as public confidence in the ANC is at an all-time low.

In the 2016 local government elections, the ANC suffered a massive blow, losing three metros to the DA.

The party has also been disgraced through allegations of corruption and state capture.

Half a century of struggle

The party’s allies, Cosatu as well as the SACP, have also spoken out against its leader, President Jacob Zuma, who succeeded Mbeki in the Polokwane elective conference, and demanded that he be removed.

In the past seven months, Zuma has reshuffled his Cabinet twice, angering his once loyal allies in the SACP and Cosatu.

"The ANC contains within its ranks people who are absolutely contemptuous of the most fundamental values of the ANC, at whose centre is a commitment selflessly to serve the people. These are people who only see the ANC as a step ladder to enable them to access state power for the express purpose of using that access for self-enrichment," Mbeki said.

“I have made the assertion that this commitment by Nelson Mandela is binding on all of us, that: ‘In all this, we will not fail you.' Madiba could make this genuine commitment, not as a rhetorical flourish, but as an affirmation of the very close bond of comradeship and friendship that existed between himself and Oliver Tambo.”

Mbeki quoted former president Nelson Mandela's speech during Tambo’s funeral in 1993, in which he promised to liberate the country and to never fail Tambo’s example.

He said Mandela made this commitment “seriously to convey a solemn message to the nation”.

“Nelson Mandela spoke these words because what Oliver Tambo had done during half a century of struggle, had helped to define the destiny of a better life for all the generations which lived on after he had passed on, without exception.”

The event was attended by dignitaries, including the last surviving Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni, IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Mandela's widow, Graca Machel.

During the day, Zuma and some within the ANC's top brass had honoured Tambo in his home in Mbizana were Zuma delivered his own memorial lecture.

Read more on:    anc  |  thabo mbeki  |  oliver tambo

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