JOHANNESBURG: Former President Thabo Mbeki says the African National Congress (ANC) failed to discipline Jacob Zuma for allegations of corruption.
Mbeki said Zuma was not the only one involved but he is an of example of many ANC leaders – who are in power to enrich themselves and not serve the country. Mbeki said South Africans are only now becoming aware of the extent of corruption in the country’s government and society during Zuma’s term.
Mbeki, in an interview with Spanish national newspaper El Pais, said South Africa experienced state capture, which he called the “kidnapping of the state by a specific family of entrepreneurs” [the Guptas] that became so important that they were taking decisions on behalf of the government.
“They told him what to do and he would do it. This caused two problems; corruption in government and society and a weakening of the executive. In a certain sense, it was a decision by the government to abdicate from its role,” Mbeki said.
He said when the ANC came into power in 1994 many people, including former members, joined the party in order to use their positions to enrich themselves, and Zuma was such an example.
“He received so much support from within the party because there were others in the ANC who were doing the same as him, and for a long time, there was insufficient moral or political consensus within the party to force him to leave.”
Mbeki also praised the election of the new leadership at the party’s elective conference at Nasrec last year, saying this was now an opportunity for the party to discern between genuine members of the party and those who are only there to enrich themselves.
“We need to clean up the party. The basic objectives of the ANC concerning what has to be done in South Africa, which Mandela began to implement when he came to power, have not changed in any way. His legacy remains. People are very angry, but they are not angry with the party, they are angry with its leaders.”
The former president said, as head of government, President Cyril Ramaphosa should now analyse the impact of economic, education and health policies in order to see which ones worked and which ones did not work and make necessary changes.
“We need to create a non-racist and non-sexist society. The goals have not changed; we want a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist South Africa and a prosperous country in which wealth is shared among all its peoples. But we have not moved fast enough.”
Mbeki was outed before he could finish his second term in September 2007 after Zuma supporters voted for him to take over. The former President was outed in 2007.
He faced a bruising defeat to his then deputy, Zuma, whom he had fired in 2006 for his alleged involvement in the fraud and corruption trial of his financial advisor Schabir Shaik.