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By Editorial staff


Elections: Get ready for parties’ big guns

Thabo Mbeki is on a rescue mission for the ANC as it’s believed that he may be party’s best chance to take KZN and Gauteng

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the threat of declining voter numbers anticipated at this month’s general election for the ruling party, former president Thabo Mbeki is on a rescue mission for the ANC as it’s believed that he may be party’s best chance to take KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

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Pre-election predictions gathered from surveys have the ANC losing ground to opposition parties, especially in former president Jacob Zuma’s backyard, KwaZulu-Natal. Zuma’s new uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party is gathering momentum, which is why Mbeki was campaigning for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng at the weekend.

Mbeki seems to be hitting the right notes, calling for national dialogue after the elections.

Mbeki said: “The idea that there are some political parties, even the ANC, that have answers to all [SA’s] problems is wrong.

“The people of SA must participate in a process of determining the future of this country.” Fear of losing voters has forced the ANC to bring in the big guns.

Political analyst Prof Ntsikelelo Breakfast said: “The ANC is using him to solicit the votes the party so desperately needs. Under Mbeki, a lot went well, except his HIV-Aids policy. For sure, he felt that as a veteran he must step up to the plate because Zuma wants to continue to destroy the ANC and the country.

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“Mbeki is intervening to stop Zuma. He agreed to campaign, but he is not giving the ANC a blank cheque. He still insisted on his demand that the party must address certain things he was unhappy about, including corruption.”

Political science professor Dirk Kotzé said: “In opinion polls, he is quite popular as one of the political leaders or statesmen in South Africa. The ANC sees an opportunity to use that popularity for its benefit.

“Mbeki also realised the ANC is in dire straits and needed everyone on board. By participating in this campaign, he wants to demonstrate this is a different ANC, a post-Zuma ANC, and feels more comfortable to work in it.”

The general election is around the corner. Expect more parties to play their trump cards to get your vote.