The Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF) has urged the ANC to take seriously the contents of the letter that former president Thabo Mbeki wrote to incumbent Jacob Zuma and not be deflected by the fact that it was leaked to the media after Mbeki ensured it was hand-delivered to Luthuli House.
“We believe that, to the extent that the issues raised in the letter have wider national implications, President Zuma and the ANC leadership should focus on the contents of the letter with the requisite seriousness,” the foundation said yesterday.
Mbeki wrote the letter in his personal capacity on November 1, urging Zuma and the ANC leadership to listen to the concerns of the 101 Veterans organisation.
The veterans, who are all ANC struggle stalwarts, want Zuma to step down in the light of the State of Capture report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
Yesterday, the foundation said the letter was copied to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, as well as Mongane Wally Serote, the chairperson of the veterans’ initiative.
The foundation said the letters to Zuma and Mantashe were hand-delivered to Mantashe at Luthuli House the day after Mbeki had spoken to Mantashe.
“Regrettably, the letter was subsequently leaked by unknown persons to the media, which then published it on the morning of November 3.
“After the letter was leaked, and widely distributed by the print and social media, and later the broadcast media, the TMF was inundated with calls from the public about the authenticity of the letter.
Because of this the foundation had to publish the letter on its website during the evening of November 3.
“The letter was intended for President Zuma and the leadership of the ANC, not for public distribution. If it had been intended for such distribution as an ‘open letter’, there would have been no need to ensure its secure delivery directly to the ANC SG at Luthuli House,” the foundation said.
Neither Mantashe nor ANC spokespersons Zizi Kodwa and Khusela Sangoni were available to comment on whether the letters were received, how they were leaked to the media and their response to Mbeki’s appeal for the ANC to focus on the contents.