29. Ace Turns Gun on Mbeki

Author: Itumeleng Mafisa
Date: 7 June 2021
The Star
Image Courtesy of: https://twitter.com/thandekalo

THE SUSPENDED secretary-general of the ANC, Ace Magashule, has criticised former president Thabo Mbeki for his lack of leadership, being responsible for the deaths of HIV-positive people and creating factions in the ANC.

In a letter seen by The Star to Mbeki, Magashule expressed his unhappiness with what he described as attempts by Mbeki to discredit him in public.

He told Mbeki he was disappointed in his public utterances regarding how he was not in favour of Magashule’s rise to being premier of the Free State.

Magashule accused Mbeki of acting self-righteously and being responsible for the formation of the Congress of the People (Cope).

He said he was not surprised by Mbeki’s poor leadership because even Govan Mbeki was uncertain about the kind of leader Mbeki would be. The letter went as far as accusing Mbeki of abusing Winnie Mandela at a public gathering several years ago.

Magashule had consulted Mbeki and other former leaders of the ANC about his predicament with the step aside rule. He said he had consulted Mbeki as a leader in the movement but had noticed that he had become publicly antagonistic towards him.

“Shall I remind you, Comrade Mbeki, to go back with us down memory lane? It aches me to remind you, when your name was mentioned to become Comrade Mandela’s deputy, how your biological father, the late stalwart Oom Govan Mbeki, expressed grave concerns and reservations seeing you not fi t to lead the ANC.

“So, if you felt me disqualified to lead, I am hardly the first between the two of us since your father saw you not fi t for reasons he knew,” Magashule said.

He accused Mbeki of having side meetings with apartheid leaders in the late 80s – an action that some in the ANC at the time found as operating outside the collective. He said there were many things that had gone wrong in the country during Mbeki’s time as president but the former president pretended they did not exist.

“Comrade Mbeki you somehow never take responsibility for anything that went wrong. You often act as the master reporter on an accident scene as if you are not actively part of the proverbial collision. If our people are still not owning land, it must be directly asked what your administration, with two-thirds majority victory, did to address the land issue.

“Comrade, no amount of philosophising and getting lost in technical jargon can obliterate the fact that history has no blank spaces.”

The letter further accused Mbeki of being an Aids denialist and suggested that he should face prosecution for the deaths of thousands of Aids victims.

“My comrade, you obviously and conveniently forget that you singularly were responsible for the notion of an ANC denialism on the existence of HIV and its linkages to Aids. This denialism, better understood in the luxury of apparent elitist independent thinking, came at a high price, losing in excess of 300 000 mostly black lives.

“Yet you may, comrade, until today, have never apologised for this dastardly act on your part of a crime against the black masses – a crime that amplified the advocating of beetroot as the answer to an HIV/Aids pandemic. The philosopher-king as Adekeye Adebajo framed you in his seminal piece as not caring less about the lives lost because it was more critical for you to win a scientific argument when you are no biological scientist,” Magashule said.

Magashule said he was victimised because of his close relations with former president Zuma. He mentioned Northern Cape ANC leader Zamani Sol as another person who was leading a campaign to discredit him but described him as a “junior who had political ambitions”.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation was not available for comment at the time of going to publication.

Meanwhile, political analyst Ralph Mathekga said there had always been a tense relationship be-tween Mbeki and Magashule.

“I thought they had a meeting with Mbeki. This is a turnabout is he trying to inspire a debate in the ANC. Mbeki never appointed him as premier,” Mathekga said.

Itumeleng Mafisa, Freelance journalist and TV reporter, Johannesburg.