'Politically homeless' Meyer joins ANC

By Angela Quintal and Sapa

The ANC has given the thumbs-up to "comrade Roelf Meyer", another former National Party cabinet minister, who has joined its ranks.

He joins former colleagues Pik Botha and Piet Koornhof, among others, as well as the last leader of the New National Party, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, now Minister of Environment Affairs in President Thabo Mbeki's cabinet.

ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama said on Thursday there was no doubt that Meyer would be accepted as a member. He would probably join one of the ANC's Tshwane branches. "It is very good of him to join the ranks of the progressive forces of our country."

The ANC has effectively cannibalised the NNP, with most of the party's MPs and MPLs joining the ruling party in last year's floor-crossing period.

Ngonyama said Meyer brought experience from the past which would benefit the ANC. Meyer was a key negotiator in South Africa's transition to democracy, working closely with the ANC's Cyril Ramaphosa.

Meyer was at pains to emphasise yesterday that he had no intention of re-entering active politics.

"The reality is, I voted for the ANC in 2004, and I made it public at that time that I was voting for the ANC. In the meantime, I thought I'm politically homeless, and I rather want to associate myself on a direct basis and become a member of the ANC," Meyer said.

He had expressed his intention to Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa, and his application was being processed. Meyer said he left politics at the beginning of 2000, and became "inactive".

"I want to emphasise that my joining the ANC doesn't mean I want to become active again. It's just the appropriate thing for me to do. I have no political ambition."

Asked why he had chosen the ANC as a political home, he said: "I think the ANC's policies are those that I can support best in South Africa.

"I think that the government have proved that what they are doing is in the interests of South Africans."


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