Mbeki provokes new storm

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WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: Former president Thabo Mbeki gave a tell-all interview on the 2007 ANC leadership race to Power FM’s Given Mkhari.

A new backlash to former president Thabo Mbeki’s cooments emerged yesterday with some ANC heavyweights, labelling him ‘disingenuous.’

The first to speak was Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, who tweeted: “I was the ANC Youth League president when Polokwane happened and I will be happy to give my version.” But Malema was in fact the president in 2007.

KZN provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli, said Mbeki should not attempt to rewrite history and allow the nation to miss him. In the period leading up to the Polokwane conference, Mbeki was accused of abusing state resources to target political opponents.

In an interview with The New Age, ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala blamed Mbeki for the current ANC challenges, saying Mbeki should have never contested for a third term. Zikalala said a few days before the Polokwane conference, he and other comrades visited Mbeki to convince him not to stand for the ANC presidency as this would destroy his legacy but it was clear that greed had clouded Mbeki’s judgement.

Zikalala also said Mbeki’s Power FM interview was a shallow attempt for public sympathy. He lost to Zuma at the 2007 ANC elective conference.

In a tell-all interview with Power FM’s chairperson Given Mkhari last week, Mbeki said a lot of what happened at the ANC national conference in Polokwane in 2007, when he lost the party leadership race to President Jacob Zuma, was based on lies.

Mbeki claimed the lies were manufactured by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. Mbeki said Julius Malema, who was a fierce campaigner for Zuma, was lied to.

Mbeki claimed that his axing was facilitated by information supplied to then ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Malema.

He is believed to have played an active role in Mbeki’s firing. He said he was misled to believe Mbeki was wrong for the ANC leadership.

-SIFISO MAHLANGU

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