Thabo Mbeki has echoed the concerns of the 101 ANC veterans who are concerned over the future of the ruling party under the leadership of Pres. Zuma.
The elder statesman confesses that it is unacceptable that the voices of older leaders are going unheard.
“Within itself this collective contains invaluable, multi-faceted and irreplaceable experience in terms of the struggle both to defeat the apartheid system and to construct a democratic, non-racial and nonsexist South Africa,” says Mbeki.
“Informed by the history of our movement, I am certain that the solemn task to ensure that the ANC remains loyal to its values, as well as its obligations to the people of South Africa and Africa, demands that the current leadership of the ANC, with you at its helm, must engage the 101 Veterans with all due seriousness.”
Mbeki says that some serious observations on the current state of the ANC and South Africa have been made, and that administrative responses alone will not be enough to solve political problems.
In fact, says the former President, they “can only serve to worsen the political crisis”.
He says that the way forward is for the ANC NEC to seriously engage with the 101 veterans, as the experience they have is invaluable to current leadership.
“To put this matter frankly, which I know you will understand, it is perfectly obvious that very many among the 101 Veterans are in fact eminently politically very senior to many who currently serve as members of the ANC NEC,” he says.
The bottom line, he argues, is that the veterans are viewed as leaders, and so Zuma must allow them to be such.
“It would seem to me that the simple and central demand that the 101 Veterans are making is that our Movement, the ANC, should take all necessary measures, in the context of its exercise of power as a governing party in a democratic State, to live up to its solemn obligation – to serve the people of South Africa,” he concludes.
“This is a complex and challenging task,” Mbeki concludes.