Mbeki letter to Zuma not meant for public consumption
CAPE TOWN — A letter from former president Thabo Mbeki to President Jacob Zuma was intended for the ANC’s leadership only, and not for the general public.
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation yesterday said it did not leak the letter to the media last week.
Mbeki wrote to Zuma, imploring him to have talks with the 101 ANC veterans who had publicly expressed concerns about his leadership.
The foundation said the letter was delivered to the party’s secretary general, Gwede Mantashe.
“Regrettably, the letter was subsequently leaked to the media by persons we do not know, which then published it during the morning of November 3. This suggests that the print media would have been in the possession of the letter by November 2.”
The letter was also widely circulated on November 3 through the social media.
The foundation published the letter on its website following the leak.
“The letter was intended for President Zuma and the leadership of the ANC, not for public distribution. If it had been intended for such distribution as an “open letter”, there would have been no need to ensure its secure delivery directly to the ANC SG at Luthuli House.”
The foundation said it believed the issues raised in the letter had wider national implications.
“President Zuma and the ANC leadership should focus on the contents of the letter with the requisite seriousness,” the foundation said.
Meanwhile, Zuma has said he is not scared of going to prison, days after an investigation found evidence of possible government corruption.
This was his first public appearance since an anti-corruption report asked for a judicial inquiry.
Mr Zuma (74), is accused of an improper relationship with wealthy businessmen. He denies any wrongdoing.
Thousands of people took to the streets on Wednesday demanding his resignation.
The 355-page report entitled “State of Capture” focused on allegations that Zuma allowed the Guptas, a wealthy Indian business family close to the president, to influence cabinet appointments.
The Gupta brothers have not commented, but they have previously denied any wrongdoing.
Zuma, who spent 10 years as a political prisoner on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela during apartheid (white minority rule), told a cheering crowd in his home province of Kwa-Zulu Natal: “I’m not afraid of jail. I’ve been to jail during the struggle.
“There’s no longer any space for democratic debate. The only space there is for court arguments by lawyers. That’s not democracy,” he added.
Zuma, who is also the leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC), has been dogged by corruption allegations for more than a decade. He had tried to block the release of the report, but dropped his court bid.
He faces a vote of no confidence in parliament next week. He survived two similar votes earlier this year. — Sapa