Former president Thabo Mbeki addresses ANC members at former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s memorial service held at the Durban City Hall. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Although former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma are worlds apart, they agree on one thing - there has been Western interference in some African countries, including in South Africa. 

While the interference he spoke about pertained to removing a leader of a country, Zuma spoke of a plot to eliminate him and to some extent, interference in internal ANC matters. 

The point of convergence of their claims was that powers interfere mainly to protect their interests and are often threatened by the leaders they don't like. 

Speaking on Tuesday in Durban during a memorial service for the late former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, Mbeki spoke of an attempt by the US and Britain to remove the late leader from power. He said the push by these two powers was so hard, that they even contemplated removing Mugabe by force.

“Indeed we opposed it strenuously because we were saying the Zimbabwe people have got a right to determine their own destiny. There is nobody who is going to come from London or decide how they should govern themselves. But in the end, the reason we have people coming from so far away, planning to overthrow an elected leader of Zimbabwe was because this was a tried-and-tested African patriot, stood very firm for the liberation of the continent,” Mbeki said.

Appearing before the state capture commission in July this year, Zuma spoke of a long-standing plot to have him removed and said the plan even involved his ANC comrades. 

While Zuma’s claim was dismissed as a ploy to present himself as a victim, instead of facing the music for his alleged corrupt deeds, the claim was seen as true in some quarters. 

This claim by Zuma was not the first of its kind. In August 2017, it was reported by old members of the ANC national executive committee that there had been three attempts to poison him. The reason for the attempts on his life, according to him, were due to his stance on socio-economic transformation, land reform and his preference of the BRICS countries over the West. 

“I was poisoned and almost died just because South Africa joined Brics (the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa business communities) under my leadership, they said I was going to destroy the country,” Zuma reportedly said.

Political Bureau