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Mbeki denounces ANC leaders who campaign for leadership positions, rather than face SA’s challenges

With the ANC electing new leadership later this year in December, former President Thabo Mbeki has designated party leaders to campaign for leadership positions rather than address South Africa’s pressing socio-economic challenges.

Mbeki said on Saturday he was concerned that some ANC leaders were focusing on the ruling party’s internal succession debate and quarrels, rather than “serving the ordinary masses of the people.”

“Even on January 8th [ANC] At a meeting in Limpopo, someone stands up in a meeting and says ‘Long live, second term for Cyril Ramaphosa’. What is that?

“South Africa cannot solve its problems without the active involvement and conscientiousness of the ANC because of its size. And so the ANC owes it to the nation to behave,” Mbeki said.

Mbeki in the Free State

The former ANC chairman made the remarks in Bloemfontein during a meeting with ANC members in the Free State.

Mbeki completed his three-day trip to the province on Saturday. He was in the Free State to promote unity and renewal in party structures after being invited by the ANC’s interim provincial committee.

Mbeki said South Africans faced with the realities of rising unemployment and social inequality are concerned not with the ANC’s internal succession debate, but with their living conditions.

“The common masses of the people are not interested in who the president of the ANC is. But they are interested in an ANC that controls the service issue, that controls the road in Mangaung, which is a potholed road,” he said.

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With the ANC’s election conference set to take place ten months from now, the former president wondered why some leaders were campaigning for positions early in the year while the ANC has not yet formally opened its succession debate.

“We cannot have a leadership of the ANC that allows itself to be misled.

“We are in February, why should people be campaigning for positions in February, instead of focusing on the issues that matter to our nation?”

Factional Power Struggle

Previously, Mbeki addressed some of the challenges he faced during his trip to the province.

He said longstanding issues of infighting between factions were at the forefront of the challenges the ANC faces in the Free State, but this was not unique to the province.

“For us, it’s a bit of a journey of discovery to be exposed to the challenges the ANC faces in the province. I say [this] because we don’t stay here and don’t deal with the province on a daily basis.

“And that is why it is very important for us to hear from everyone, to understand the reality of the province, so that we are better able, when our advice is asked, that advice is based on the concrete reality in the province” , he says.

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