Mbete defends Mbeki
ANC national chairman Baleka Mbete yesterday defended former president Thabo Mbeki's criticism of the party's leaders.
She said that robust debates within the ruling party did not constitute a crisis.
Last week, Mbeki lashed out at the ANC leadership during an Oliver Tambo memorial lecture at the University of Fort Hare.
He said the leadership was losing its ability to provide direction.
Mbeki has been lashed for his remarks by the ANC.
But yesterday Mbete defended Mbeki saying: "I think it is fine. He is contributing to debate, he is expressing a view, there is nothing new.
"It is just something that is the culture of the ANC and so it does not come as a surprise ."
Her comments were made at a time when party members are engaged in mudslinging debates about who is to lead it after its December elective conference.
The factions that support President Jacob Zuma and those in favour of him being succeeded by his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, are attacking each other as party branches discuss the quality of leadership.
Since nominations officially opened this month, ANC leaders at national, provincial and branch level have been at each others' throats.
On Monday, Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula accused Independent Newspapers of claiming falsely that he had insulted Zuma in an interview with the group's journalists.
In the interview, Mbalula reportedly said Zuma married every week and was "politically bankrupt".
Mbalula, who is also a member of the ANC's powerful national executive committee, got a tongue-lashing from the party's leadership in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Social networks have been used to discredit party members opposed to, or in support of, Zuma and his deputy.
- Mbete said the party will host the third ANC International Solidarity Conference, in Tshwane, from tomorrow until Sunday.
The conference will celebrate Tambo's legacy.