The recall of former president Thabo Mbeki and the expulsion of Julius Malema from the ANC were the ruling party’s biggest mistakes because in each case, those sympathising with Mbeki and Malema respectively formed parties opposing the ANC.
ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Ruth Bhengu this weekend told party members in Limpopo the ANC has learnt from the recalling of Mbeki in 2008, nine months before the end of his second term as president of the country.
Bhengu added that expelling Malema, who now leads the EFF, has made things worse for the ANC.
Her comments come shortly after Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa told the Sunday Times the EFF’s growing popularity posed a serious threat to the ANC in the region in the August local government elections.
Bhengu told the ANC regional general council in the Peter Mokaba region, which was meeting to discuss President Jacob Zuma’s apology following the Constitutional Court judgment on Nkandla, that Mbeki’s recall led to the formation of the Congress of the People (Cope).
“Cope was not born because of its policies; it was formed by ANC members who sympathised with Mbeki.
“ANC members who sympathised with Malema became the building blocks of the EFF.”
This had negatively affected ANC membership. Bhengu said lessons learnt by the party through the Mbeki and Malema debacles were among the reasons why the ANC could not fire President Jacob Zuma.
“We should not take decisions that will further divide the ANC.”
Earlier, Ramokgopa, the ANC regional chairperson in Tshwane, said the party was well aware of the threat posed by the EFF, the Sunday Times reported.
“His [Malema’s] expulsion from the party was unfortunate and we have to take lessons from it.”
The Citizen understands that some ANC members used the Peter Mokaba regional meeting to demand that Malema be reinstated in the ANC.