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By Citizen Reporter


Mbeki disagrees with ‘nine wasted years’ and details Zuma’s ‘correct’ decisions

The former president has tried to add an element of balance to his criticism of his successor’s reign.

Former president Thabo Mbeki said he disagreed with the notion that the period during former president Jacob Zuma’s reign were “nine wasted years”, and detailed some of the good decisions that were made during those years.

“The transference of the technical colleges back to national, was a correct decision, very correct. So we can’t say that was a wasted decision,” he said in an interview that was given to the Sunday Times.

Mbeki said the creation of the basic and higher education departments was also a “correct” decision that was taken in the very same “nine wasted years”  when Zuma took over. Though some problems worsened during Zuma’s years, Mbeki said they started way before Zuma took over.

“For instance, if you look at Eskom, one of the big problems at Eskom which emerged was the drop in expenditure in terms of the maintenance of the power stations, in 2006, 2007, and so on. It started then. Of course it continues over the years, and gets worse and worse and worse until you have these power cuts and so on but it is not a phenomenon of the last nine years.

“Sure, because of the time factor, they get worse, and worse and worse and erupt as a real crisis in the last nine years not because they started then.”

Also read: Zuma hits back at those in the ANC calling his terms ‘nine lost years’

Though the former president commended Zuma for the good decisions he made during his tenure, he also pointed out some of the negatives that stopped him from campaigning for the ruling party since his removal in 2008, with expansion of the civil service staff in the presidency from 300 in 2008 to 1,000 in 2014/15 being one of them.

“So when I asked, but what are the 1,000 civil servants doing for the Presidency, from 300 to 1000 … [the reply was] President they are doing nothing. You get people who come to work and all they do is play games on the computer and then they knock off, go home and at the end of month they get a salary. So you have things got things like that, that happened in the last nine years.”

Campaigning at the Rand Easter Show on Tuesday, Mbeki said the ruling party veered off course during the nine years and he detailed the consequences of that, which were among other things corruption, loss of integrity and lawlessness.

He said: “There was a period when I could not personally, in all honesty, come and say to a person: ‘David, please vote for the ANC’ knowing very well the wrong things that were happening.

“That would not have been honest of me to go and talk to people like that.”

Mbeki, however, added that he would be voting for the ruling party because he felt that the current leadership was committed to change.

“The fact that we admit that we have veered off course, resulting in corruption, means we’re making a commitment to the public that we’re going to have to deal with those matters and, therefore, there is a degree of accountability of the ANC to the public. The organisation is trying to make a detailed commitment.”

Also read: ‘Nine wasted years’ is a myth, says Mantashe

However, Mbeki’s decision to openly campaign for the ANC was highly criticised by Cope, which questioned his decision to associate himself with “tainted characters” in the ruling party.

“Following his announcement that he will vote for ANC, we asked a question; Is Mbeki now also endorsing dodgy characters like Ace Magashule who left a trail of destruction in the Free State? We were equally shocked that Mbeki suddenly associates himself with the badly tainted characters like David Mabuza, Supra Mahumapelo, Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba,” said Cope in a statement.

Some of these leaders were reportedly flagged as “problematic parliamentary candidates” by the ANC’s integrity committee, and Mbeki has also said that their inclusion on the list should be questioned, or the ANC was at risk of sending “thieves” to parliament.

(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)

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