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5 quotes from Baleka Mbete's interview that left SA fuming

By Lou-Anne Daniels Time of article published Oct 22, 2019

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Former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete's interview with Mehdi Hasan, who hosts Al Jazeera's Head to Head talk show, has been roundly criticised by South Africans on social media.

Mbete was invited to discuss whether the ANC has betrayed former president Nelson Mandela's legacy in the 25 years since the dawn of democracy.

She was was joined on set by former ANC politician Makhosi Khoza, who resigned from the party in 2017 after calling for then-president Jacob Zuma to step down; former politician and now Watch UK director and author Andrew Feinstein;  and ANC member Xolani Xala, the founder of South African Business Abroad and member of the ANC.

The ANC stalwart, who came across as completely disconnected from the political realities of the country her party governs, made a number of bizarre utterances during the 45-minute taping in front of a live audience. 

Some of these included blaming colonialists for the high murder rate in South Africa, insisting that there was nothing untoward about the Nkandla upgrades and that she wasn't aware of the extent of corruption within her own party.

While the entire interview verged on the bizarre, there were a number of Mbete's statements that angered social media commenters and are still being talked about.

Here are 5 quotes from the interview that really angered South Africans:

* On SA having the fifth highest murder rate in the world: "I am wondering who said that?"

* On not speaking to Thabo Mbeki when 330 000 people died as a result of his administration's HIV/Aids denialism: "It was not for me to talk because I was busy with Parliament."

* When pressed on the fact that thousands of people died while the Mbeki administration failed to address the crisis: "You call it madness. I can only call it an unfortunate moment in the history of South Africa."

* On the World Bank rating South Africa as the country with the most unequal society in the world: "They are not God".

* On ANC leaders blaming foreigners for drug crimes: "It's not helpful but it's true. In certain cases people have been found guilty. Some Nigerians have been found to be involved".


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