South Africans must do their bit by voting today, as the legitimacy of those who are elected depends on it. These were the words of former president Thabo Mbeki at his residence in Johannesburg yesterday, where he was to be visited by the ANC’s three Gauteng mayoral candidates.
“I do hope all registered voters will go and vote. It’s important,” Mbeki said. “The people of South Africa must give their own view about how they want the municipalities to be governed, and who should govern them.
“I think it’s very important that we get a big turnout. The legitimacy of those who get elected depends, in part, on the participation of the population during this process.”
Of the three mayoral candidates, only City of Joburg mayor Parks Tau turned up at Mbeki’s home. The two candidates for the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros, Thoko Didiza and Mzwandile Masina, respectively, did not show up.
They were “attending to urgent matters” in their regions. The former statesman said he would vote today, but it would be a secret ballot.
Speaking on his meeting with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) this week, he said: “I met with the IEC yesterday – the chair, the deputy chair and other members of the IEC briefed me about the preparations they have made for the elections.
“And it seemed to me from their report that, from that side, the necessary preparations have been made. “I think now the task remains on us, the voters, to do our bit; to go to vote.”Asked about his meeting with the Economic Freedom Fighters’ leadership on Monday, Mbeki said he met with any political party that asked for a visit.
“The EFF asked to see me, so, I meet anybody who asks,” Mbeki said. “[DA leader] Mmusi [Maimane] has come already – the EFF asked to come, so I said fine. The [ANC] mayoral candidates asked to come, so I said fine. “What I was told is the three mayoral candidates would come to see me, so I said fine.
“It was perfectly legitimate. I am a resident of Gauteng, so they thought that it would be proper … merely to convey … to say in this ward, this is what we are doing, these are challenges that we face, this is the kind of population you have here.
“Unfortunately, two of them said they have to go to Ekurhuleni and Tshwane to attend to some urgent matters.” Mbeki had not campaigned for the ANC in this election, expressing faith in its leadership’s ability to carry out the task. “I am sure the ANC leadership are perfectly capable of handling this,” Mbeki said.
“Plus, I have to be wandering around the continent quite a bit. Even last week, I was in Tanzania. I think the campaign is in capable hands.”