Mbeki vows to purge ‘rotten apples’ from South Africa’s ANC

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has vowed to rid the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of “rotten apples” and “thieves”.

The 81-year-old campaigned for the ANC for the first time ahead of May’s elections.

He made the pledge in front of cheering crowds in Soweto as his party, which has been in power since the end of white minority rule in 1994, faces allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

Protesters in Soweto took to major highways last week to express their anger at the lack of basic services in the town on the outskirts of Johannesburg, which saw widespread civil unrest during the apartheid era. Ta.

Demonstrators showed their anger by blocking major highways with debris, burning tires and hurling rocks at motorists.

Many South Africans feel disillusioned and dissatisfied with the ANC.

The party, which won around 63% of the vote 30 years ago when Nelson Mandela became the country’s first democratically elected president, is at risk of losing its parliamentary majority.

Mbeki, who served as president from 1999 to 2008, was outspoken on governance issues and was not afraid to publicly criticize the ANC and its current leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

But wearing full ANC regalia, he said it was still a party for the people and felt it needed to be “fixed”.

Addressing the crowd in Xhosa and English, he acknowledged the problems facing the ANC, saying: “There are rotten apples and thieves within the ANC.

“This is the thief wearing this T-shirt,” he said, pointing to his jacket. “We need to get rid of them to make this party the party you know it to be.

“If I say I’m going to vote for the ANC, I promise to fix the ANC.”

The ANC’s majority is threatened by the growing popularity of smaller parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), popular with young people, and the new party Umkhonto Wisizwe (MK), led by Mbeki’s successor Jacob Zuma. .

Zuma was forced to resign as president in 2018 due to corruption allegations. Three years ago, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for failing to testify in an alleged investigation, but served only three months on medical grounds.

It caused division and infighting within the ANC.

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