Former president Thabo Mbeki spoke out yesterday against leaders who are “thieves” and those who violate South Africa’s constitution.
Mbeki also lamented what he called the lack of “progressive leadership” on the African continent at a question and answer session for students of the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute in Pretoria.
Mbeki said that the constitution was a product of the country’s struggle against apartheid and the negotiations to form a democratic South Africa and he did not expect those who formed part of those processes to violate it.
The former president’s comments come as President Jacob Zuma and his administration have lost several cases at the Constitutional Court.
The court recently ordered Zuma to pay R7.8-million for the non-security upgrades made to his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, home.
“The constitution is the product of the struggle. We own that constitution. I would not expect that the same owners of the constitution would want to violate it,” he said.
Asked about public unhappiness with the ANC and the perception that many in the ANC were loyal to the party and not to the country, Mbeki said this was not supposed to be the case.
“There ought to be no conflict between loyalty to the party and the country,” he said.
There were people who were loyal just to the ANC because they were using it as a vehicle for corruption and self-enrichment and not to fight the legacies of apartheid and colonial oppression, the former president said.
Mbeki said the problem of self-enrichment in the ANC was raised as early as the party’s 1997 conference in Mafikeng by former president Nelson Mandela, who “dedicated time to eradicating the problem”.