Steven Tau
4 minute read
12 Jan 2016
2:05 pm

Mbeki clarifies removal ‘conspiracy’

Steven Tau

Former president clarifies circumstances in a letter titled "The tragedy of history".

Former president Thabo Mbeki. File Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former President Thabo Mbeki says he never implicated senior ANC leaders in a conspiracy to remove him from his position. In a letter posted on the Thabo Mbeki Facebook page, Mbeki explained in detail steps he took in dealing with information taken to the police by former ANC Youth League leader, James Nkambule, regarding a conspiracy to oust him.

The leaders who allegedly plotted to have Mbeki removed, were revealed as Matthews Phosa, Tokyo Sexwale and current deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

In the letter headlined “The tragedy of history: When caricature displaces the truth, Mbeki said some observers had described him as aloof, intellectual, out of touch with the ANC membership and the people, autocratic, intolerant of different views, sensitive to criticism, paranoid, abused state power to promote his personal political ambitions, marginalised the ANC from discharging its responsibilities as the ruling party by centralising power in the State Presidency, and so on. “Much of this is written with no facts to substantiate the accusations or is, in some instances, based on deliberate misinformation.

In many instances this results in a gross distortion of our history and therefore a failure correctly to analyse developments of significant or major importance to the future of our country.”

He said the article in question, was a first but not only attempt to correct this mistake, and will deal with only one instance which has been used to try to give supposed substance to the allegation about Mbeki’s so-called paranoia.

“Early during my first five years as President of the Republic, one James Nkambule, an ANC Youth League leader from Mpumalanga, approached the SAPS and offered to give the Police detailed information about a conspiracy to do great harm to me as President of the Republic.

The heart of the Nkambule story, conveyed with many details, was that the people involved in this conspiracy were Matthews Phosa, Tokyo Sexwale and Cyril Ramaphosa.”

Mbeki said the SAPS Crime Intelligence interviewed Nkambule and recorded his extensive account on a number of video tapes.

He went on to say that at some point the SABC came to know of this story and, as they understood it, prepared to produce its own television documentary of the alleged conspiracy.

“As part of this news report it invited then Minister of Safety and Security, the late Steve Tshwete, to come to its studios at Auckland Park for an interview on the story. By then the broadcaster knew the names of the alleged conspirators and, on air, asked Minister Tshwete to confirm the information it had.

The Minister made the serious mistake of confirming these names live on air, during an evening broadcast. As soon as the interview was over, the Minister telephoned me to inform me of what had happened and to apologise most profusely for his mistake. Naturally I reprimanded him for what he had done and asked that he should see me.”

He said when he met Tshwete, they agreed that work would nevertheless have to be done by both the SAPS and the civilian Intelligence Agencies, NIA and SASS, to investigate the authenticity of the Nkambule allegations.

“He suggested that for me to understand the gravity of the Nkambule story, I should see and listen to him, to which I agreed. Nkambule was then brought to me by people who believed the story he had told the SAPS, people who remain members of the current National Executive Committee of the ANC.”

According to Mbeki, after listening to him, he remained convinced that the State Intelligence Services should continue their work to establish the truthfulness or otherwise of his allegations.

“In this context I asked Minister Tshwete to get me copies of the SAPS video tapes on which they had recorded Nkambule, which he did. Because of the gravity of the allegations which Nkambule had made, I requested then Deputy President Jacob Zuma, ANC SG Kgalema Motlanthe, Minister Tshwete and Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, then Minister of Intelligence, and perhaps one or two others, to come to the President’s Pretoria Official Residence, Mahlambandlopfu, to enable all of us to view the video tapes together”.

He said a unanimous decision was then taken that, he task Sisulu with the responsibility to get NIA and SASS, which fell under her to verify or otherwise establish the authenticity of the Nkambule charges, in the same way as would the SAPS Crime Intelligence.