South Africa 31.1.2018 08:25 pm

Thabo Mbeki is on the comeback trail

New ANC regime has brought optimism about SA’s political, economic future.

Mbeki is emerging from the political wilderness to actively participate in South African politics once more and is working closely with Cyril Ramaphosa to save South Africa and rejuvenate the strife-torn ruling ANC.

Political analyst Andre Duvenhage commended both leaders for showing political maturity by putting the country first ahead of their personal interests and agreeing to work together.

At the weekend Mbeki was quoted by the SABC from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia as saying he was ready to assist the new ANC leadership.

He said new president Ramaphosa and his entire leadership must be given a chance to lead and implement their conference decisions.

As former presidents of the ANC, both Mbeki and Jacob Zuma are ex-officio members of the NEC and may fully participate in its activities and advise the organisation and its leadership on various matters.

But since his recall as state president by the party under Zuma, Mbeki had boycotted the NEC meetings.

He was ready to support the Ramaphosa-led party, which has embarked on a process of renewal that began with the election of a unity leadership at its national conference in December.

The former ANC president said Ramaphosa is sending out a positive message.

“Let’s give this new leadership [a chance] to do what it has promised to do. And we are ready to assist the ANC to do the right things,” said Mbeki.

Duvenhage gave credit to Ramaphosa for acting differently to his predecessor, Zuma, whom the expert said put personal interests first and wanted to cling to power to the bitter end.

“I give credit to Ramaphosa for his statesmanship. That is part of the unification of the ANC as well as South Africa. This is constructive in the interest of the country,” Duvenhage said.

Under Ramaphosa, a spirit of unity has reverberated throughout the party structures and has brought optimism among South Africans in general about the country’s political and economic future.

This former trade union leader was elected on the ticket of anti-corruption and party renewal, which he seems to be pursuing parallel to each other.

His offer to rebuild the party raised new hope among party stalwarts and the rank and file that he would be the messiah to save the ruling party, which lost three vital metro municipalities to the opposition DA during the 2016 local elections.

Although the party election campaign was fought on factional lines, the electoral outcomes ensured a unity leadership with half of the top six coming from each camp.

Ramaphosa, who has the best prospect to become the next president of the country, wants to extend the unity beyond the party structures.

Another analyst, Ralph Mathekga, said the ANC is in a crisis and should acknowledge that.

“They could use all the help from their previous leaders,” Mathekga said.

The latest developments come as new cracks begin to show in the ANC top leadership over whether Zuma must be recalled and as the corruption investigations get under way.

– ericn@citizen.co.za

 

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