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Sometimes the lifespan of a revolutionary movement-turned government is short, especially when it irretrievably severs the connections to its fundamental character and purpose. That’s essentially the message from former president Thabo Mbeki’s brother, respected academic Moeletsi. Living up to the theme of the dialogue organised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Courageous Conversations, he told a fascinated audience that the ANC has run its course. Pragmatically engaging with the capitalist economy in a sincere early bid to uplift the vast majority of disadvantaged black South Africans, it nevertheless struggled to implement effective service delivery. The departure of his brother, though he didn’t use this as a marker, signalled a radical departure from compassionate general upliftment to the self-enrichment of a tiny minority of well-connected politicians and businessmen at the expense of the already overburdened taxpayer. Yet the black middle-class has burgeoned, a big positive. The current ANC leadership – and the response by the party to its shady State Capture machinations, show that it’s reached its sell-by date and a more inclusive, innovative dispensation is inevitable, he adds. – Chris Bateman
By Lameez Omarjee
Johannesburg – The ANC has done what it could to uplift the economy, but it cannot continue to build on what it has currently achieved, according to political economist Moeletsi Mbeki.
Mbeki was speaking alongside a panel of experts at the inaugural Courageous Conversations dialogue hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Wednesday night. Other speakers included former RMB chief executive and current chairperson of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme Sizwe Nxasana, University of Pretoria chancellor Wiseman Nkuhlu and Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop.
Mbeki was commenting on the future role of the ANC.
“The ANC in my view has run its life,” said Mbeki. “It did what it could do, and did it reasonably well… The ANC is no longer the solution to the future of South Africa.”
Mbeki explained the country now has a new future and what is needed is a South Africa which is more innovative and integrated, among other things.
He added that although the ANC has made mistakes, it has achieved two things. The first is the growth of the black middle class – which should be seen as an asset – to over 3 million individuals. Secondly the ANC, has kept the South African economy functioning.
“The issue is, can the ANC build on this? My own view is it can’t,” he said.
Nkuhlu also commented on the ANC, particularly the role of President Jacob Zuma in causing the credit downgrade to junk status. “I have never heard of a credit downgrade of a country being precipitated by the president,” said Nkuhlu.
“It confirms at the core of the crisis we face, somehow the leadership has lost interest in being inspired and guided by what is good for the people of South Africa.”
He explained that in 1994, the country’s leadership was inspired to take responsibility for its finances so that it would not be under the control of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. “We took the painful decision, and implemented restructuring up to 2000, when we finally got investment grade,” explained Nkuhlu.
“That was a deliberate move because of the pride we had as a country.” Nkuhlu added that the country’s leadership has lost the sense about a South Africa former president Nelson Mandela had imagined. – Fin24