Johannesburg - Former ANC president Thabo Mbeki has cautioned the party’s leadership not to fall into the trap of discussing a second-term for President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"People are saying second term. It's a trap. If we take that route, then we will be preoccupied with who supports one, and forget about important national challenges,” Mbeki said.
He said this was the time for dealing with issues affecting people, and addressing service delivery.
Mbeki was speaking after a three-day trip to the Free State, aimed at fostering unity, renewal and rebuilding the party. He was invited by the interim provincial committee.
Mbeki said the ANC owes it to the public to behave itself, and to take care of issues of service delivery.
“We can't have a leader of the ANC who allows it to be misled. Why should people campaign for positions in February, instead of attending to service delivery issues and problems identified,” he said.
Mbeki denounced ANC Limpopo chairperson Stanley Mathabatha’s stance at the January 8 celebration, when he announced support for Ramaphosa for a second term.
“Someone at the January 8 anniversary stood up and said second term for Ramaphosa; what is that?" asked Mbeki
"The ordinary masses of the people are not interested in who's the president of the ANC. They are interested in an ANC which takes care of the matter of service delivery."
Mbeki also said Cosas (the Congress of South African Students) must be protected and not abused for factional battles.
“All of us in the ANC have a responsibility to make sure that we have a good, strong, cohesive Cosas because it represents an important layer of youth in our country. All of these things are part of the process of renewal of the ANC.
“What we shall do is to make sure we stop the murder of our youth, women and really produce realistic programmes, not just put in words, but practical, that’s part of the renewal process,” he said.
Mbeki said there is no reason why the ANC should worship some particular person.
“This habit of telling lies is very directly related to the decline in the quality of our membership. As the quality of our membership has declined over the years, these problems pop up of people seeking to achieve particular objectives by telling lies.
“I'm saying, in a process of renewal it becomes possible, it is inevitable, that we deal with challenges of this kind,” Mbeki said.
He said as a movement they deliberately took a decision that there are many people in the country who respect traditional leaders and they can’t be excluded.
“If we want to rebuild the province we must bring everyone on board. We cannot take anyone for granted,” he said.