Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR
Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR

After previously saying his vote would be secret, former president Thabo Mbeki said on Tuesday that for the first time in a while he feels comfortable telling people to vote for the ANC.

Mbeki has stayed away from the ANC’s election campaigns since he was ousted at the 2007 Polokwane conference in favour of now former president Jacob Zuma, and recalled as state president in 2009.

With two weeks to go until the May 8 election, Mbeki visited the ANC pavillion at the Rand Show in Johannesburg, where he signed a pledge that he would vote ANC.

Mbeki told journalists on Tuesday that the ANC, in its 2019 manifesto, was finally owning up to its mistakes and admitted that it had veered off course.

“There was a period personally when I could not come to a person and say please vote for the ANC, knowing very well the wrong things that were happening. I couldn’t do that” he said.

However, Mbeki said the party has now made a commitment to deal with those issues. “There is a degree of accountability that the ANC can’t run away from.” 

Mbeki also said he agreed with the sentiments expressed by the ANC veterans on some of the candidates on the party’s lists for national and provincial government. The party was heavily criticised for including members implicated in allegations of state capture and corruption.

The ANC veterans called for the party to refer the lists to the integrity commission and called on those implicated in the different commissions of inquiry to step down. The national executive committee has referred the lists to the integrity commission.

The commission has handed a report over to the ANC’s top officials that still needs to be discussed.

Mbeki said the veterans are correct to raise issues with the lists, saying the the outcome of the integrity commission is yet to be seen, but that the process is not over.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za