Zuma Should Stand Down, says Mbeki

Zuma Should Stand Down, says Mbeki

Promises 'Decisive' Move to Rescue an 'Astray' ANC

by Fintan Dunne, 12th December 2013.

Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki has intimated that the current president Jacob Zuma should step aside, in the light of corruption allegations.

Reminded by Channel4's Jon Snow, that Mbeki himself had "gone quietly" when challenged by Zuma, Snow asked if the same logic applied now.

Mbeki responded that "if a president found himself in a similar situation" as he[Mbeki] once had, then it would be better to stand aside in the interests of the nation.

Pressed further in the TV interview on whether action would be taken within the ANC to address these issues, Mbeki said that the ANC membership was still inspired by Mandela's ideals, and that a "decisive" move would take place to ensure that the ANC does not go "astray".

Mbeki's comments to the UK national broadcaster mark the first time he has signaled Zuma should consider his position.

His remarks are also the first indication of a planned, direct and perhaps imminent challenge within the ANC to Zuma's position. 

Just four days ago, on Sunday, in Mbeki's first public speech since Mandela's death, he warned: 
"The central task is to ensure we do not betray what he and others sacrificed for."
In an interview published the same day by the Sunday Independent, he hinted at forming a broad coalition against corruption and in favor of re-enshrining Mandela's ideals:

...There’s a lot of discussions taking place in the country. And I’m quite certain... that there are [a] sufficient of a pool of people who would be keen to take up these matters in a more systematic way.."

Two days later, Mbeki got a hero's welcome at the FNB stadium, in Soweto, for Nelson Mandela's celebration memorial service. The crowd stood to chant "Mbeki, Mbeki," with some making bicycling movements with their arms to signal their desire to "substitute" the current ANC leader, Jacob Zuma.

SA Mail and Guardian, associate editor @phillipdewet tweeted: 

"Well I never. Mbeki just got the loudest, most sustained cheer of any arrival..."
Zuma was jeered by the same crowd as he took the stage. And every time his face appeared on the stadium's large screens it was met by further jeers and bicycling movements. Doubtless driven by the ongoing scandal about tens of millions of rand spent on Zuma's lavish presidential 'palace.'

Those cheers and jeers have clearly resonated deeply within the ANC in the last 48 hrs.. 

Before Mbeki got the impromptu roar of approval vote from the ANC members packing the Soweto stadium, he was talking of forming a broad social coalition against Zuma's corrupt governance. Today, he was talking of "decisive" action within the ANC.

Given the speed with which Mbeki has in recent days raised the political temperature, an ANC  move against Zuma could come within days of Mandela's final incarceration.


Mandela's Conscience Lives: In Thabo Mbeki
by Fintan Dunne, 10th December 2013



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