The former South African state President and African National Congress (ANC) Thabo Mbeki says the late former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe did everything in his power to secure the liberation of the people of his country and he should be honoured for that.
Mbeki was addressing hundreds of ANC members and members of the pulic in Durban where he delivers a Robert Mugabe memorial lecture.
Mbeki says Mugabe’s dream was to see other oppressed African countries free, which is why he supported the ANC in its liberation struggle.
“President Mugabe was a member the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress that ANC was formed in 1957. He was part of its leadership. So I’m saying that this is somebody who clearly demonstrated in practice where his heart and his mind lay in terms of doing everything possible to secure the liberation of the people in Zimbabwe.
ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal say inviting former president Mbeki to deliver a lecture in memory of the former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe will strengthen the party.
The party says this is the first time Mbeki has travelled to the province to address party structures since he left office 13 years ago.
The last time Mbeki was in the province was in 2006 when he delivered the lecture in memory of the ANC struggle veteran Moses Mabhida.
Pro-Jacob Zuma supporters interrupted Mbeki’s speech which he delivered during the succession battle ahead of the ANC 2007 Polokwane elective conference.
“One of the reasons we have opted for comrade Thabo is his relation with the African countries. So, we believe in him but it doesn’t mean that because we have chosen the former president at the expense of others, we cannot rewrite the history of the ANC. Thabo Mbeki was a former president and he is the member of the ANC. We need to focus on a positive history that will take a certain forward,” says ANC’s provincial Spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu.
Mthembu added that the ANC does not condone wrong things that happened leading up to the 2007 Polokwane conference.
“Not that we are apologetic about our view at that time, but yes, even after the conference, we felt that some of the things that happened were not called for. But for the fact that we wanted comrade Jacob Zuma to be a president we are not apologetic about that. But comrade Thabo Mbeki is a cadre and we need to learn from him. The fact that we said he was not supposed to take a third term it does not mean we were taking away his credentials. His credentials are far from many of us.”