Baleka Mbete. Picture: Damaris Helwig.

Johannesburg - ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete has accused foreign networks of funding opposition parties in a bid to topple the ANC.

Speaking at a gathering of the Progressive Professionals Forum in Cape Town today, Mbete said there was a “narrative coming from outside the borders, or sponsored from there” that said the world, or “knowledgeable people”, had to “do everything they can, to put every bit of energy they can, to unseat former liberation governments”.

The ANC had been aware of this campaign for a long time.

Mbete said during her term as Speaker of Parliament, which ended in 2008, she had been approached by a former finance minister of another country from the SADC region.

“She said, ‘Madam Speaker, I hope you people are aware of this campaign’.

“I said, ‘ What campaign?’ and she explained it,” Mbete said.

The woman had told her opposition parties in other countries had been approached over the years and told they could be funded to “club together against the parties that have been in the forefront of liberation struggles”.

Mbete said it was time to acknowledge this phenomenon and “take responsibility for tackling it”.

“We know also that some of the networks we are dealing with have their tentacles extending to within South Africa,” the ANC chairperson said.

This included “opposition party activities and campaigns” being funded by these “sources”.

“Some of what we’ve come across in the trade union movement, we’ve discovered is also supported from some of those tentacles that extend from outside into our country,” Mbete said.

This is not the first time unionists and influential figures have been accused of acting on behalf of shadowy foreign powers.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi released a copy of an intelligence report in August last year, which he claimed had been circulated by the federation’s president in a bid to discredit him before his suspension.

It claimed Vavi was in cahoots with a US oufit called the National Endowment for Democracy which, among others, was to put up funding for Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang.

She has denied receiving funding from the US.

Mbete said yesterday the problem with this foreign influence was that it had the effect of “confusing us as South Africans”.