WATCH | 'We're going to have our own Arab Spring': Mbeki's full address at Duarte memorial

Former statesman among speakers, along with Deputy President David Mabuza

22 July 2022 - 13:17

Former president Thabo Mbeki issued a stern warning to the ruling party on Thursday when he told ANC leaders to honour their promises to citizens. 

He also warned that the country could face an “Arab Spring”, mirroring the uprising that began in 2010 around the Arab world due to unhappiness with political rulers. 

Mbeki was among the speakers at the memorial service for Jessie Duarte held at the Johannesburg City Hall. Duarte was the party’s deputy secretary-general and had been on medical leave for several months due to cancer. 

Mbeki said the ANC had to move away from “slogans”. 

“To honour that legacy and to respect what we mean when we say 'long live the spirit' [of Duarte], it means that there is a number of things we need to do.

“There has been no national plan to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality — it doesn’t exist,” said Mbeki.

He also raised concerns that some people had joined the ANC to enrich themselves and where thus involved in factional battles. 

“We must address local government ... that level of government that is directly in contact with the people every day. What message are we communicating to the masses?

“The crisis of what is happening in local government is illustrated by Mangaung. And who are the people who are paralysing Mangaung? It is ANC people who are fighting among themselves”

Many of Mbeki’s comments were met with agreement from some in the crowd. 

The ANC is due to hold its policy conference next week, where it will discuss organisational renewal, its plan for the economy and other pressing issues. 


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