Durban - Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils has warned that the upcoming conference of the ANC has the potential to make the divisive Polokwane conference of 2007 “look like a picnic” - if it goes ahead.
He said the December conference in Gauteng will be a very bumpy ride as the two dominant factions were pulling “all sorts of dirty tricks”.
“We hope they can choose people according to real fundamental policies to change the country in terms of serving the poor, the workers, the marginalised, the women, all the groups that Jacob Zuma has actually acted against, because for him what has been primary is serving himself and his own particular interests.”
Speaking in Durban at the launch of his latest book titled, A Simple Man: Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma, Kasrils said the same could not be said about Thabo Mbeki under whom he served as minister.
“Zuma is a prime example of using intelligence in a malicious way,” he said.
He cited the axing of Pravin Gordhan (PG) on the basis of a fake intelligence report as an example of the manipulation of intelligence services by Zuma.
“They had to give a reason why PG was called back and they couldn’t tell the truth, that Zuma could not get what he wanted out of Treasury, there was this manufactured report.”
Kasrils said that at the past two conferences of the ANC, one in Polokwane in 2007 and the last one in Mangaung in 2012, it has “overwhelmingly been the Zuma supporters who have been doing the dirty work”.
He, however, said that he had since been made aware that even from the side of president Mbeki supporters there were those who had used money to buy votes at Polokwane.
While he said Mbeki had his own errors of judgement, he hailed him as not corrupt and said he (Mbeki) had never tried to use intelligence services to work against the Zuma grouping.
Kasrils said he was no friend of Mbeki but he grew to admire him because he was not corrupt.
He said during his four years as intelligence minister there was no information that any money went into Mbeki’s pockets.
Kasrils said South Africans had to stand together and demand good governance.
He said attention also had to be on fixing the economy, saying a national consultation was needed. He, however, warned that such a process should not be elitist and should include the poor.
“We need what happened with the freedom charter in 1954 to go out to the people of this country - and get their views on what is going wrong and what is needed.”
Kasrils said some of the more radical policy changes had been put on hold earlier on in the democracy, as the country was focused on attracting foreign investment.
Judge Zac Yacoob who was facilitating the launch, said a social revolution was needed, the kind where South Africans work towards “ensuring that more and more of us live the values of our constitution”.