Mbete: Mbeki’s criticism ‘nothing new’

2012-10-23 16:44
Carien du Plessis
ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete has downplayed fierce criticism by former president Thabo Mbeki against the way the country was being led, saying “he was just expressing a view, it is nothing new”.

Mbete was reacting to questions at a press conference in Luthuli House this afternoon about the Third International Solidarity Conference hosted by the ANC in Tshwane from Thursday to Saturday.

Mbeki last week told an audience at Fort Hare university during a lecture commemorating the life of former ANC president OR Tambo that the country was dangerously adrift and “bordering on failure”.

He blamed a failure of leadership but also accepted part of the blame.

Mbeki also said he was “deeply troubled by a feeling of great unease that our beloved motherland is losing its sense of direction, and we are allowing ourselves to progress towards a costly disaster of a protracted and endemic general crisis”.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu earlier said Mbeki’s assessment of the state of the country was accurate, but the ANC did not agree with him that the future was bleak.

Mbete also refused to comment on a recent spat between Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who was reported to have said President Jacob Zuma was “morally bankrupt”, and the ANC in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

She said she didn’t have first-hand knowledge of any of the allegations, but “that’s how politics works”.

Asked whether Mbete, who heads the ANC’s centenary celebrations team, was happy with the way Zuma’s centenary lectures had gone so far, she said apart from the disruptions in Limpopo and the Western Cape, she was happy.

Zuma is set to deliver a lecture on Friday in Pretoria on the life of Tambo. His lecture next month, in Aliwal North, will be on the life of Mbeki.