Mbeki let­ter to Zuma not meant for pub­lic con­sump­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/worldwide -

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

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