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Thabo Mbeki Can’t Let Go or Has he been Deployed to Attack Zuma?

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Thabi Mbeki Can't Let Go or Has he been Deployed to Attack Zuma

Thabo Mbeki unleashed criticism towards Jacob Zuma during an engagement with students at the Thabo Mbeki African School of Public and International Affairs, located at the University of South Africa’s Muckleneuk campus in Pretoria.

Mbeki charged Zuma, his once deputy and later dismissed, with orchestrating a plot to dismantle South Africa’s democracy via the South African Revenue Service (Sars), claiming Zuma was orchestrating efforts to destabilize Sars, aiming to bring down the democratic state project.

He elaborated on the absurdity and error in someone being part of the ANC’s leadership yet advocating for another political entity, all while hoping for the ANC’s downfall from governance.

Zuma, in December of the preceding year, declared his intention to support the newly established uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP), stating his refusal to support the “ANC under Ramaphosa” yet maintaining his ANC membership. This move attracted scrutiny, with Mbeki being the latest to voice criticism.

The friction between Mbeki and Zuma traces back to 2005 during their tenures as president and deputy president, respectively. Zuma faced dismissal by Mbeki amid corruption charges, which were later dismissed, allowing Zuma to ascend to the ANC presidency in 2007 during the Polokwane conference, a victory that led to Mbeki’s resignation in 2008.

The EFF’s leader defended Zuma, criticizing Mbeki for alleged hypocrisy, pointing out both individuals’ history of supporting ANC rival factions. He highlighted Mbeki’s supposed role in the inception of The Congress Of the People, a splinter faction formed by Mbeki’s supporters post-Polokwane conference.

“I find president Mbeki’s comments to be very inconsistent; for some reason president Mbeki thinks we didn’t know that he was behind the formation of Cope, and for some reason he forgets that he is the one who was saying that he would not campaign for the ANC.

Malema accused Mbeki of lacking the candidness that Zuma exhibited by openly endorsing a party.

“Mbeki did everything that president Zuma is doing, which is to endorse a particular party… that’s why Mbalula [Fikile] used to call him ‘Dalai Lama’.”

Malema promised that significant ANC figures would not have defected to Cope without Mbeki’s nod, critiquing Mbeki’s presidential era for escalating inequalities and unemployment.

Dr. John Molepo, a Public Administration professor at North West University, considered Mbeki’s critique of Zuma justified, highlighting it as an expression of distress over Zuma’s disloyalty to the ANC and its principles.

“This looks like the highest form of ill discipline from any member of the society or any member of the ANC. Who wants to see their own party dying?

Molepo viewed Mbeki’s outburst as a manifestation of an elder’s dismay at betrayal within the ranks, aiming to restore a sense of order and integrity within the party dynamics.

What Lies Beneath the Surface of ANC’s Internal Conflicts?

This discourse raises pertinent questions about loyalty, governance, and the future direction of the ANC. What motivates a seasoned politician to challenge the status quo within their own party? And more broadly, what are the implications of these internal battles for South Africa’s democratic landscape?

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