Former president Thabo Mbeki has turned down an invitation to the ANC’s elections manifesto, said Secretary-General Ace Magashule. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Former president Thabo Mbeki has turned down an invitation to the ANC’s January 8 Statement and elections manifesto to be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday, party Secretary-General Ace Magashule told the media.

During the media briefing held in Durban to outline the state of readiness for Saturday’s all-important event, Magashule said the ANC had invited former presidents Mbeki and Jacob Zuma as well as all living former secretary-generals.

“President Mbeki did indicate that he would definitely love to come but there were already other engagements.

“So president Mbeki, as far as I know, has apologised and he would not be there tomorrow because of prior engagements,” said Magashule.

Thousands of ANC members are expected to converge on Saturday at the Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, which has a capacity of 85 000. The event would set a tone for the ANC’s next programme of action ahead of the upcoming general election. 

Magashule said international dignitaries and former liberation movement’s representatives would attend. 

When asked how possible that Mbeki would be prevented by other engagements from the event that had been planned a year ahead, Magashule said “only comrade Thabo Mbeki can answer that question”.

“Comrade Thabo Mbeki has been engaging with the president throughout the year and I can tell you that their relations are okay and in good shape,” he said.

Magashule said Mbeki was not the only one invited but who would not attend.  “There are many other former NEC members who have indicated that they are not going to be there on Saturday. 

“People have plans, and if you are better organised you actually plan before the beginning of the year,” he said.

Political Bureau