Amid the continuing silence of former president Thabo Mbeki in not endorsing the ANC ahead of the local government elections, the leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) seem to have taken their chances to see if he might not join and endorse them instead.
They went to woo Mbeki at his home to ask him to join the new baby on the political scene.
The mere fact that Mbeki was willing to meet with the EFF and sit with them will come as a huge slap in the face to President Jacob Zuma and his supporters in the ANC, since EFF leader Julius Malema is perceived to be Zuma’s greatest and certainly most outspoken critic and enemy.
On social media, the party announced it had paid Mbeki “a special visit” to introduce the EFF to him and also to canvass for his vote. In pictures published on the party’s Facebook page, Mbeki can be seen seated with EFF leader Julius Malema and other EFF bigwigs, including party deputy president Floyd Shivambu, national chairperson Dali Mpofu, general secretary Godrich Gardee, deputy secretary Hlengiwe Hlophe and treasurer Magdelene Moonsamy.
“The EFF leadership payed [sic] a special visit to President Mbeki this afternoon to canvass his vote & introduce EFF #EFFwayawaya,” the EFF said on Facebook.
It’s not clear what the consensus of the meeting was. However, Mbeki, being a former ANC president, is known to be a staunch supporter of the movement and a son of former freedom fighter icon Govan Mbeki.
His mother, however, joined the Congress of the People after her son was recalled as president by the Jacob Zuma faction in the ANC. Since Mbeki’s 2008 recall, he has not endorsed the ANC for elections and he failed to do so again this year, despite Joburg Mayor Parks Tau paying him a visit last month, in what was believed to be a meeting to ask for his support. The ANC is contesting its most tightly fought election in its history and leaders such as Tokyo Sexwale called for all hands on dead, including from Mbeki.
All Mbeki has said in response is that he remains “an ANC member in good standing”. The party has tried to explain away his silence by saying “he’s busy with other things right now”.
The Mail & Guardian reported last week that, aside from Mbeki, others bearing a family name that has become synonymous with not only the glory days of the ANC but “struggle royalty”, the Tambos, reportedly told the ruling party that they were unwilling to be seen endorsing Zuma’s leadership. The M&G reported that Mbeki cited “blatant corruption” among his reasons for not wanting to support the ANC’s municipal elections campaign.
One of Oliver Tambo’s young family members even endorsed the EFF, while others in the family “expressed their disgust with the ANC”.