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By Citizen Reporter


‘No national plan to address poverty’ – Mbeki says he fears SA’s own ‘Arab Spring’

'One day it's going to explode,' the former president said during Jessie Duarte's memorial service.

Former president Thabo Mbeki has once again criticised the ANC for having “no national plan” to deal with South Africa’s socio-economic challenges.

Speaking at the memorial service of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte on Thursday, Mbeki reiterated the importance of renewal in the governing party and expressed concern that some members were still focused on serving their own interests.

“Even in the 49th conference which was held in December 1994, comrades were saying we have began to inherit people into the ranks of the ANC who are not ANC.

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“People that come into the organisation to use it as a step ladder to positions of state power in order to accumulate wealth for themselves,” he said.

“That statement has been in all ANC conferences since then so I’m saying renewal is going to mean, among other things, ridding ourselves of such people who joined the movement to serve [and] enrich themselves.

“It’s a very difficult challenge [but] we’ll have to go beyond deciding what is the definition to acting on the renewal [so we can] honour the legacy of comrade Jessie,” the former president added.

‘Nothing has happened’

Mbeki said the ANC needed to address the living conditions of South Africans who are faced with the reality of soaring joblessness and social inequality.

“In terms of our commitment to serve the people we have to address those issues, but as a matter of fact we don’t have a national plan to address these challenges… we don’t have it.

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“There is no national plan to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment, inequality. It doesn’t exist,” he further said.

The former president then seemingly took a swipe at President Cyril Ramaphosa saying: “When he delivered his State of the Nation Address in February, he said in a 100 days there must be a comprehensive social compact to address these matters. Nothing has happened… nothing.”

Arab Spring

Mbeki further said he feared an Arab Spring uproar in South Africa, with the country having already experienced the July 2021 riots, which left over 350 people dead and caused massive economic damage.

“I’m saying one of my fears is that one of these days it is going to happen to us. You can’t have so many people unemployment.

“So many people poor… people faced with lawlessness that I’m talking about. One day it’s going to explode,” the former president said.

According to History.com, the Arab Spring was a series of pro-democracy uprisings that enveloped several largely Muslim countries, including Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Bahrain in 2011.

The uprisings were sparked by the death of Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself alight in an act of protest after being arrested by Tunisian police for not having a permit to run a vegetable stall.

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