Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema said he has “no feelings” for former president Thabo Mbeki.
This after the party visited the former ANC president to “canvass his vote”. Malema said Mbeki “o ntime kuku” [refused to give me a cookie, a sexual double entendre], and reiterated that there was no need for people to label him a traitor as he “has no feelings” for the former freedom fighter.
“Pres Mbeki & I were/are only flirting. I dont hv feelings for him though. No reason to label me traitor & o ntime kuku,” said Malema on Twitter.
The EFF’s move to woo Mbeki came as a shock to many who still see the former president as a role model in the ruling party.
ANC Youth League member Mcebo Dlamini slated the EFF leader, labelling him an “apologist”.
“There’s nothing special about Julius meeting Thabo Mbeki … After all, Julius is a well-known apologist … who knows, maybe he went there to apologize.. don’t be surprised if he goes to visit Winnie Madikizela tomorrow. We are not shaken by this Chappies Little League politics,” said Dlamini.
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”.