EFF leader Julius Malema is the latest to weigh in on former president Thabo Mbeki’s criticism of President Cyril Ramaphosa, claiming he has no moral authority to call him out.
Speaking during a memorial service for late ANC stalwart Jessie Duarte, Mbeki said the ANC has no national plan to address a number of social ills, including poverty, unemployment, criminality and inequality.
He also told mourners Ramaphosa had not fulfilled the promises he made during his state of the nation address (Sona) in February.
“Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, when he delivered the Sona in February, said ‘in 100 days there must be an agreed comprehensive social compact to address these matters’. Nothing has happened, nothing,” Mbeki said.
His remarks caused a political storm and were widely criticised by many online.
Speaking at the fourth national students assembly of the EFF students’ command, Malema said Mbeki had no moral authority to call out Ramaphosa’s leadership failures because he had endorsed him in the past.
“Thabo Mbeki wants to speak like a moral authority after he said we must allow Cyril to explain theft. The office (presidency) must be protected with everything,” said Malema.
Malema said Mbeki was not an alternative to save the country from the “dogs”, nor was former president Jacob Zuma.
“The ANC must die a painful death. The ANC must feel the pain our people have felt for more than 20 years under its uncaring leadership. When a president is caught with cash under a mattress and in sofas, must we debate that with people who claimed to have a high moral standard during Zuma’s term?
“We cannot allow the immoral South African middle class to choose what is moral and what is immoral for us.”
Ramaphosa hit back at Mbeki, challenging his assertion he had not done enough to build a social compact.
Speaking the ninth ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference, he said a process was under way to finalise a social compact.
“Since the Sona in February, government has been meeting with social partners on the further measures we need to take in addition to the economic reconstruction and recovery plan to grow and transform our economy,” said Ramaphosa.
“The process has been slow and at times quite difficult. We all agree our overriding objectives are to grow the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty and inequality.”
He reminded delegates the unemployment crisis “did not start yesterday”.
“It did not start two years ago. We have lived with this problem over a number of years and we have been involved, among the social partners, in finding or creating steps we need to take to address all these challenges through a social compact.
“There are differences over what compromises need to be made and who needs to make the compromises. So while we do not have an overarching social compact, we are making progress,” he said.