Mbeki recall shows ANC desperation: Maimane
The ANC asking former president Thabo Mbeki to assist in capturing Gauteng's middle class votes in next year's election was a sign of desperation, DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said on Tuesday.
"When President Mbeki proclaimed that he was an African, born of the people of this continent, we shared his pride," Maimane told residents in Soshanguve.
"President Mbeki wasn’t perfect. Nobody is. But during his presidency we saw progress. He got the economy on track. Houses were built and electricity and sanitation were delivered."
The Sunday Times reported that the strategy arose out of fears of President Jacob Zuma's unpopularity with the middle class. Zuma would instead be used to woo the poor and working class voters in the province.
"We are pulling out all the stops and using all the resources of the ANC," the party's Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura reportedly said.
On Monday, the ANC in Gauteng queried the report, stating that it suggested without any basis that Zuma was unpopular with the middle class.
The ANC's campaign in the suburbs was also different in every election and the report made no reference to provincial secretary David Makhura's extensive criticism of the opposition campaign in Gauteng, the ruling party said.
Maimane said Mbeki introduced Black Economic Empowerment, and while there may have been problems with its implementation, it signalled the injustices of apartheid were being redressed.
During this time, he was an ANC voter and an Mbeki supporter.
"Things have now changed. The economy is sliding and people are battling to put bread on the table. Jobs are being lost," he said.
"The best opportunities always seem to go to the same connected insiders. And communities across Gauteng are taking to the streets to protest against corruption."
This was why the ANC was talking about bringing Mbeki back to campaign in Gauteng, so people forget what has happened since he left office.
"He was recalled once and now the ANC want to recall him back," Maimane said.
"It amazes me that you can kick a president out of office and then expect him to come back and campaign for you."
Maimane, the DA's candidate for Gauteng premier in next year's elections, said people deserved to know who their candidates were.
"If [Gauteng premier] Nomvula Mokonyane is going be the premier candidate, then she must come out and campaign," he said.
"She must come out and defend her record in government."