Johannesburg - Former president Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday signed a pledge that he would be voting for the African National Congress (ANC) in the May 8 elections, after he previously said his vote would be a secret.
Mbeki visited the ANC Pavilion at the Rand Easter Show, in Johannesburg, as part of the ruling party's election campaign. He has stayed away from the ANC’s election campaigns since he was ousted at the 2007 Polokwane conference in favour of former president Jacob Zuma.
He said it was difficult for him to campaign for the ANC under Zuma's leadership because of the "wrong things" that were happening during that period.
"I could not personally come and say to a person vote for the ANC, knowing very well the wrong things that were happening. It would not be honest of me to go and tell people to vote," he said.
"The manifesto of the ANC, it's got a section which talks about the ANC has made many mistakes, that it has also veered off course and talks about the consequences of that which includes corruption, loss of integrity, lawlessness. It was very important that the ANC should say that, to say to the people of South Africa that we recognise these things."
Mbeki said the party has made a detailed commitment to deal with those issues.
"ANC was finally owning up to its mistakes and admitted that it had veered off course. The organisation is trying to make a detailed commitment on what to do with economy, social cohesion, the land, in the context that we don’t want to continue veering off course, and continue saying that we ‘have a good story to tell’ when things are not going well."
He said because the party admitted that it had "veered off course", it meant that it had committed to resolving its issues.
Mbeki also spoke about the party's controversial parliamentary list, saying it was up to the ANC's integrity committee to decide on the matter.
"The issue of the lists obviously comes up. The ANC has got its own structures and what has happened again, as you know, is that that whole list was given to the integrity committee of the ANC," Mbeki said.
"I am told that the integrity committee has looked at that list and has its own views. Those views of the integrity committee will not remain secret. We need to wait to see what happens with that."
For the first time in a while Mbeki feels comfortable telling people to vote for the ANC. He was accompanied by the head of elections Fikile Mbalula and Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
African News Agency (ANA)