The ANC is confident it can convince Mbeki to campaign for it, despite his criticisms of the party.

The ANC wants former president Thabo Mbeki to help it campaign ahead of the elections this year.

The Sunday Times reports that it has even sent former KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli to speak to Mbeki.

The ANC needs to try cement all the support it can for the party, especially after another former president, Jacob Zuma, declared his allegiance to the new MK party.

Although Mbeki has not taken as drastic a step as Zuma, he has criticised the ANC in the recent past. Last year, he hinted that he would not be willing to campaign for the party.

“There are many things that are going wrong which are not being attended to. I can’t go to the ordinary people of our country and say ‘vote for these people who are doing wrong things’. I can’t do that,” he said.

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ANC confident of Mbeki’ will’s support

He, however, reportedly criticised Jacob Zuma for declaring his allegiance to the new MK party.

The Sunday Times reports that ANC leaders are confident Mbeki will campaign for the party.

“He hasn’t agreed yet … but we’re confident that he will agree to come on board,” a senior ANC NEC member told the publication.

“The idea is for us to have a plan for a post-manifesto launch because we want him to go out there campaigning with the manifesto in his hands. What we are getting from the likes of comrade Mdumiseni [Ntuli] is that he is agreeing to attend the manifesto launch, but as I said there is nothing formal as yet.”

Mbeki’s criticism of ANC

Ntuli might have to work hard to convince Mbeki to campaign for the party. Mbeki has been outspoken about the ANC’s shortcomings over the past year.

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Addressing the memorial service for anti-apartheid activist Aziz Pahad in October, Mbeki said the ANC needs to account for its failures since it took power in 1994.

He said the party had promised to renew itself, but had not.

“The fact of the matter is that we did not renew the ANC following the party conference resolution of 2017. That resolution was repeated by the conference of 2022. We are now in October and nothing has happened to renew the ANC.”

Speaking on SABC News in September, Mbeki said the country should be focusing on turning the state of the country around. He said the ANC needed to fix load shedding and take steps to reduce unemployment and crime. He also called for service delivery to be prioritised at local municipalities. He said the ANC should turn its attention to these problems before worrying about winning elections.

ALSO READ: ‘Focus on service delivery before worrying about who wins elections’ – Thabo Mbeki

During a dialogue at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 2022, Mbeki said South Africa lacks the leadership needed to address its problems, such as crime, unemployment and load shedding.

However, in December, the ANC said it was expecting all its former leaders, including Mbeki, to campaign for it.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu told The Citizen Mbeki would be expected to campaign out of loyalty.

“The party does not need to ask members and leaders [to campaign], they know that they have an obligation. It’s part of their responsibilities as members of the party,” Bhengu said.

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