The former president warns that without ‘renewal’ the systemic Zuma-era self-enrichment will not stop
The ANC needs to cleanse itself of “crooks” who are party members only for self-enrichment, former president Thabo Mbeki says.
“That’s renewal,” he told Spanish newspaper El País in an interview last week. “If the ANC does not do the renewal it will continue to do the things that were happening under Jacob Zuma.”
He said it was “generally understood” that part of the problem was that corruption had become entrenched in government and society during former president Jacob Zuma’s terms in office.
“Entrenchment of corruption led to what is called state capture, which means that you have a particular business family which became so important that it was taking decisions on behalf of the government,” Mbeki said.
The ANC recalled Zuma in February. This was after Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC president at the party’s 54th national conference in December.
Zuma, his son Duduzane and the controversial Gupta family are at the centre of state capture allegations. Zuma is also facing corruption charges in relation to the arms deal.
Mbeki said the “Zuma phenomenon” was systemic, not one individual.
He said that since 1994 there were many people who joined the ANC or stayed in the party to get a government job for self-enrichment.
“This problem of the corruption of the membership of the ANC has accumulated over a long time.
“So the first thing the ANC must do is to look at itself and say who are genuine members here and who are [here] just to steal?”
Mbeki said Ramaphosa, as ANC president, had to attend to this question and the renewal of the party.
Mbeki said government policies adopted over the past 24 years needed to be reviewed based on outcomes. The government’s successes and failures had to be measured.
“The pace of change over these last 24 years has not been good enough, we need to move with greater speed to create this nonracial and nonsexist South Africa,” Mbeki said.