In response to the ANC national executive committee’s feedback yesterday after its four-day meeting in Irene, Gauteng, former Reserve Bank governor tweeted that he was considering retiring from politics.
The party’s leaders had been gathering to decode the election results and chart a way forward, but Mboweni had not participated in the discussions in Tshwane, a metro the party lost control of.
The outspoken ANC member, the first black African to run the Reserve Bank in democratic South Africa, has been openly critical of the party in its current guise under President Jacob Zuma for some time.
He tweeted that, within a short space of time, the ANC had thrown away its “noble values” and it was “So sad. Very sad.”
How easily, within such a short space of time,we have thrown away our noble values.So sad.Very sad.I am considering retiring from politics.
— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) August 14, 2016
A day later, however, he tweeted a message that appeared to suggest he had simply been very upset while listening to news that the party had decided to stick behind Zuma and not even entertain the demands of opposition parties wanting the president to step down before they would consider going into a coalition with the ANC.
He wrote: “There is a good English expression that says:’NEVER WRITE A LETTER WHEN YOU ARE UPSET’. That applies to all of us, myself included. Tweets!!”
There is a good English expression that says:'NEVER WRITE A LETTER WHEN YOU ARE UPSET'. That applies to all of us, myself included. Tweets!!
— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) August 15, 2016
Some of the key points ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe shared with the media on Sunday included:
- Denying that the ANC had spent R1 billion on the elections. “It was not even half a billion.”
- The ANC was taking “collective responsibility” for its poor showing in metros.
- He confirmed there had been no proposal from the floor for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
- As for the EFF’s demand for Zuma to step down, he said the ANC would enter any coalition through a process of engagement in which it made clear what it would be willing to do, and what not. Zuma stepping down was not part of what was on the table.
- The party would be taking steps to change the perception of being arrogant, self-serving, corrupt and distant from the party’s voter base.
- Mantashe said a delegation of the ANC “of five NEC members” had met with the EFF and other parties to talk about coalitions. “It’s not just the EFF, it’s all parties. We met the AIC [African Independent Congress] this morning; we are meeting as many parties as we can.”
On his Facebook account, Mboweni wrote last week that “collective responsibility” could be a moving target in political science.
“Are all members of the central committee collectively responsible for the numerous blunders that the head of the party’s anti-corruption commission commits? Such blunders and misdemeanours cause unbearable damage to the party. They bring the party into disrepute. Are the party members going to accept ‘collective responsibility’? I no longer think so.”
It would appear he spoke too soon and had expectations the ANC had no intention to live up to.
He said the election outcomes were a “temporary seismic shift … in South African politics. But it is not the end of the journey of freedom. We have many things to celebrate. But we also have a lot to sort out, root and branch. At least we try to be as democratic as possible. But politics can be brutal. But I can confirm that indeed ‘there is nothing dishonorable about politics or public service’.”