Sunday Times

Mbeki warns of ANC breakaway


● Former president Thabo Mbeki yesterday told the ANC national executive committee that the governing party should prepare for a possible split caused by “irreconcil­able ideologica­l difference­s”.

Insiders told the Sunday Times that Mbeki made the comment in response to an input by NEC member Tony Yengeni at yesterday’s heated virtual meeting.

Yengeni had apparently said there were irreconcil­able policy difference­s that existed within the party.

Insiders said Mbeki based his warning of a split on the fact that even late party president Oliver Tambo could not reason with the socalled “Gang of Eight” who ended up being expelled from the party in 1975.

The Gang of Eight referred to a group of eight leaders who were against the decision taken at the Morogoro Conference in 1969 that the party’s membership be open to whites, coloureds and Indians.

After six years of negotiatio­ns led by Tambo, the group ended up being expelled from the party because they were ideologica­lly opposed to the decision.

According to the insiders who attended the NEC meeting on Saturday, Mbeki said the party now finds itself in a similar situation which was likely going to lead to a split.

Mbeki agreed with Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha that a special retreat was needed to deal with difference­s and “hatred” among the ANC leaders.

“He said that we must just devote our attention to these major political issues which are about the life and death of the ANC and leave aside all these other matters,” the insider said.

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