Thabo Mbeki brought in to woo ANC vote in fiercely-contested KZN

Former President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Masi Losi

Former President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Masi Losi

Published May 12, 2024



Durban — Former president Thabo Mbeki is criss-crossing the highly contested KwaZulu-Natal as the ANC fights to retain the province amid the onslaught from opposition parties.

Mbeki's first stop was in Pietermaritzburg where he visited the graves of struggle veterans Johnny Makhathini and former SACP strongman, Moses Mabhida.

He also went on a walkabout at the Edendale Mall where throngs of people encircled him. There, he urged people to vote for the ANC on May 29, promising them the governing party had learnt from its past mistakes.

Mbeki was president of the ANC from 1997 until his bruising defeat in the 2007 ANC Polokwane conference to former ally-turned-enemy Jacob Zuma.

Mbeki served as state president from 1999, after taking over from the late Nelson Mandela until his forced resignation in 2008.

On Sunday, Mbeki along with provincial ANC heavyweights, went to the graves of former ANC presidents, Chief Albert Luthuli in Groutville, and Langalibalele Dube in Inanda, north of Durban.

He later attended a dialogue at uMlazi Comtech Hall.

The ANC roped in party bigwigs in its campaign in a bid to fob off the opposition parties that threatened to pull the governing party below the 50% mark both nationally and in the fiercely-contested KZN. The ANC bagged 54% votes in KZN during the 2019 national elections.

The emergence of the uMkhonto Wesizwe Partyb(MKP), backed by Zuma, and the IFP reclaiming its lost ground is causing a big headache for the ANC ahead of the election.

All indication at this stage are that the province would be governed through a coalition, as many analysts agree that there would no outright winner in KZN.

As Mbeki went on a charm offensive, his political opponent and leader of the MK Party Jacob Zuma was expected to address his supporters at Freedom Park in KwaMashu, north of Durban on Sunday.

While the MKP is dogged by internal factional quarrels, its entrance is poised to cause a major dent in the ANC’s performance at the polls – especially in KZN.

Zuma has a pending disciplinary hearing with the ANC which was put on ice until after the elections for joining another party (MKP) and campaigning against the ANC.

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