Cool, but not aloof - Mboweni on Mbeki

2016-02-02 16:36
Former president Thabo Mbeki

Former president Thabo Mbeki (Nelius Rademan/Foto24; Gaut)

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Johannesburg – Former president Thabo Mbeki may have been forbidding, even cool, but never aloof, former SA Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni said on Tuesday.

"Many of the meanings of 'aloof'... do not describe him. Cool, yes, forbidding, maybe, formal, yes, stiff, perhaps, reserved, yes. The rest NO!!” he said in a post on his Facebook page.

He said he had known Mbeki for many years.

On Monday, Mbeki published the fourth in his series of letters. The latest one was entitled "Dare you ponder the obvious: of course Mbeki is aloof".

Mboweni provided a variety of definitions of the word: "Not friendly or forthcoming, cool and distant. Distant, detached, unresponsive, remote, unapproachable, forbidding, stand-offish, formal, impersonal, stiff, austere, stuffy, withdrawn, reserved, unforthcoming, uncommunicative, indifferent."

He said he did not agree with those who had chosen these meanings to describe Mbeki.

In his letter, which the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute published, Mbeki said the accusation that he was aloof rested on the assertion that, whether intentionally or not, his leadership style meant that he chose not to be in touch with the people and ANC members.

"Some elected constantly to propagate this notion as an established and self-evident truth which did not even require that any evidence should be produced to substantiate this 'truth'," Mbeki wrote.

The former president spoke of the initiatives during his term which involved communicating with citizens and party members.

Read the full letter here

Author Zakes Mda said he had known Mbeki since high school days and he had "never been aloof".

Mboweni said Mbeki had class and wanted things done properly.

"In his presence, I know that I need to be in my best behaviour when I am near him. That is not 'aloof' but to be 'proper'," he said.

Mboweni said he was learning much from Mbeki’s letters.

Mbeki's second letter was entitled "When your position can't be sustained, create a scarecrow – the menace of post apartheid South Africa". In it he wrote about SA Communist Party deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin's "communication of fabrications concerning the workings of the NEC". 

In last week's letter, Mbeki denied firing Zuma as ANC deputy president in 2005. Zuma stepped down, Mbeki insisted in the letter.

Read more on:    tito mboweni  |  thabo mbeki

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