Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

When I was listening to deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo painfully explaining the reasons for requesting an extension of the state capture commission’s mandate, it occurred to me that the work of the commission is bigger than the looting of the Guptas. The problem actually started with the ANC’s national general council (NGC) in 2005 and came to fruition at the party’s national elective conference of 2007 in Polokwane.

The latter conference was disguised as an anti-Mbeki moment, with some arguing it was against the centralisation of power in the ANC’s presidency, espoused in the modernisation programme pursued by former president Thabo Mbeki. Others felt they were deliberately sidelined from policy-making processes.

With the benefit of hindsight after listening carefully to the testimony presented at the commission, I am convinced that the dislodging of Mbeki from the presidency of the ANC was directly linked to the state capture project. What happened after Jacob Zuma took state power in 2009 was a carefully planned programme hatched at Polokwane to first discredit Mbeki and his legacy, and second to repurpose the state institutions to benefit the cabal that won over the Polokwane conference.

However, in the process of executing the state capture project, priorities changed and people like Julius Malema and Zwelinzima Vavi became the first casualties. The remaining proponents of the Polokwane project who have been the beneficiaries of state capture are currently mounting a fightback campaign against President Cyril Ramaphosa, focusing on the upcoming  ANC NGC.

When has an ANC president ever been dislodged from power purely on the basis of the failure of government to implement ANC conference resolutions?            

Lazola Vabaza, Via e-mail

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