Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says he hopes former President Thabo Mbeki will do the right thing and vote for his party on Wednesday.
Malema together with the top leadership of the party paid a visit to Mbeki at his home in Killarney, Johannesburg, on Monday as part of the party’s door-to-door campaign.
Malema says they introduced themselves and the party’s policies to Mbeki in anticipation of winning his support.
Former President Thabo Mbeki is the latest struggle stalwart to receive a courtesy visit from delegations of political parties contesting the election.
Last week Winnie Madikizela-Mandela hosted a delegation of the ANC lead by Free State Premier Ace Magashule to her home.
Today it was Mbeki’s turn with the Economic Freedom Fighters top leadership meeting with him at this home in Killarney, Johannesburg.
It was a smiling Mbeki who bid farewell to the group an hour later but the former statesman demurred to speak to the media. Malema explains why he believes Mbeki to be a good fit for the EFF.
“The EFF represents Africanism, the President is an Africanist. The EFF is an organisation that subscribes to fifty-fifty gender parity and the EFF’s research has now show that we are the only party – a leading party rather when it comes to gender representation. When it comes to gender representation in the local government PR and Ward candidates we know President’s passion on gender but also we introduced the President to the party that represents the left perspective in the country and the party that continues to fight corruption”.
Malema says the EFF delegation was warmly received and dismissed suggestions by the media present that the meeting may have been tense given Malema’s history with Mbeki.
Malema was at the forefront of calling for the recall of Mbeki after Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson’s ruling that Mbeki may have been involved in a political conspiracy against Zuma. The ruling was later overturned on appeal.
“Ahh we have met President Mbeki many times before today. So I also met the mother as well, so there is nothing awkward. President Mbeki knows that politics is politics. He is a seasoned politician. We will always disagree, we will always agree that is the good thing about having mature leaders like himself who doesn’t become petty and want to talk about dead issues”.
Mbeki’s name has come up often most recently in this local government campaign. There has been much speculation as to why he has not joined the ANC’s mobilisation efforts despite the party’s Gauteng leadership asking for his assistance.
President Jacob Zuma moved last week to douse any suggestion that Mbeki was snubbing the party, saying he knows the former President is a ANC member in good standing.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says there is nothing wrong with Mbeki meeting the EFF.
“Our approach to leadership of the ANC is that they can meet anybody and we must not stop meeting anybody or everybody. So there is nothing special about President Mbeki meeting the EFF. I would imagine that he can’t run away and say this is elections I can’t meet you he must meet them if needs be.”