Johannesburg — Former president Thabo Mbeki has resurrected the ghosts of the ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane, saying lies were used to oust him.
Mbeki was speaking during a more than two-hour interview with Gauteng-based radio station Power FM on Thursday night. He said the “habit of telling lies” had crept into the party at the 2007 conference.
“A lot of what happened at that conference was based on lies. Lies were told to Juju [Julius Malema] by people. He had no reason to disbelieve it and, quite correctly, he acted on the lies. And then he discovers much later that he was lied to,” Mbeki said, to the amusement of the audience.
Malema was one of those who led Jacob Zuma’s presidential campaign, alongside former Cosatu president Zwelinzima Vavi and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.
Both Malema and Vavi have since apologised for their campaign, while Nzimande has said he felt betrayed by Zuma.
Mbeki was running for a third term as ANC president in 2007, but faced a bruising defeat to his then deputy, Zuma.
Mbeki had fired Zuma in 2006, after he was implicated during the fraud and corruption trial of his financial advisor, Schabir Shaik.
Malema, who was in the audience, backed Mbeki and said they had been “misled”.
He told the audience gathered in Sandton that they had been told two lies: that Mbeki wanted to amend the Constitution to remain president of the country forever, and that he was concocting charges against Zuma.
“And thank God, we lived to see it for ourselves that no one was concocting charges. Zuma was corrupt. He still got new accusations in the absence of those concocting charges against him,” Malema said.
Zuma, at the time, faced 783 charges, stemming from the 1999 arms deal. The DA has been waging an eight-year battle to have the charges reinstated after then-National Prosecuting Authority boss Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges against Zuma.
Mbeki has also taken some jabs at President Zuma’s government, accusing it of taking incoherent decisions.
He also rubbished Zuma’s supporters for labelling white monopoly capital as the enemy and for demanding changes to the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
Mbeki was interviewed on Gauteng radio station Power FM on Thursday night and, for more than two hours, reflected on his term in office, economic challenges facing the country, and problems facing the ANC.
He criticised Zuma’s management of his Cabinet, when asked what advice he would give the government to tackle the economic crisis.
Mbeki said the president, as chair of Cabinet, must understand all the issues discussed in Cabinet, to ensure cohesion and avoid contradictory government department decisions.
“Otherwise you don’t have a government, you don’t have a centre that can hold,” Mbeki said.
During his time, he said, ministers had to be well prepared for Cabinet meetings, fully aware of what their counterparts were proposing for adoption and ready to defend their own proposals.
“What needs to emerge are Cabinet decisions because, if you don’t do that, you have individual departmental decisions. Instead of having Cabinet, you have what I call a federation of ministries. Trevor [Manuel] corrected me and said it’s a confederation of ministries,” Mbeki said. — News24.