Monday, July 15, 2024

Thabo Mbeki is not squeaky cleaner than Cyril Ramaphosa

The animosity between the former South African President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki and the current Cyril Matamela though not confirmed, is said to date back to the period when the former was appointed the deputy to Rre Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela ahead of the latter. It is said this is the reason Ramaphosa quit politics to join the business world where he made his fortunes before returning to the African National Congress politics (ANC) where he ultimately became Rre Jacob Zuma’s deputy and finally the President of the ANC and South Africa respectively. When Mbeki was soundly beaten and subsequently recalled by Zuma after the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007, he assumed a low profile attitude in the ANC politics and activities presumably because he was still bitter about his recall. This position changed when Zuma himself was also recalled by Ramaphosa after the latter won the  ANC’s presidency in 2017.  It appeared Mbeki would be Ramaphosa’s ally. But lo and behold, the unfolding events suggest otherwise.

Probably as expected consequent to the aforesaid animosity, Mbeki would start to publicly criticise Ramaphosa for this and the other issue. His pointed criticism of Ramaphosa would begin in earnest after the breaking out of the Phala Phala farm scandal where an amount of about $ 580,000 was reportedly stolen thereat in 2020. The Phala Phala farm is owned by Ramaphosa. This scandal was brought to the fore after it was reported to the police by the erstwhile head of the South African State Security Agency Arthur Fraser around mid-2022.   Towards the ANC’s conference held in December 2022, Mbeki spoke very strongly about the scandal where he insinuated directly or indirectly that Ramaphosa was not fit to contest the presidency of the ANC position given the scandal. Around the period leading to the 2022 ANC nationa conference, the scandal had reached parliament where a three-person committee led by a former Chief Justice was established to determine whether or not Ramaphosa had a case to answer. The committee determined he had a case to answer. Mbeki had asked the ANC before the determination of whether Ramaphosa had a case to answer to be prepared to have a position in the event the committee ruled against Ramaphosa. When the committee report reached parliament for it to determine whether or not to impeach Ramaphosa, the majority of ANC Members of Parliament voted against his impeachment. It is clear Mbeki was seriously aggrieved by his comrades’ conduct and behaviour.

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