Thus saith a former minister in the presidency – Essop Pahad.
Thabo Mbeki’s recall strengthened bad elements in the ruling party. That, in turn, caused ANC a long-term negative impact.
As culled from a newly published book entitled ‘The Thabo Mbeki I Know’, Pahad said Mbeki’s recall was very painful, tragic and unnecessary.
“There really was no reason to ask Thabo Mbeki to step down. The elections were coming in seven months. It was painful because the top leadership of this organisation that we had given our lives to and that we will still continue to love and respect, could behave in the manner that they did.
The organisation had taken a step that had never before been made in its history and it was really tragic that the NEC could arrive at that decision not fully comprehending its enormity. It put the ANC in a very difficult position and it also led to the formation of the Congress of the People,” Pahad recalled.
He nonetheless, noted that Mbeki’s resignation following the decision of ANC NEC led by Jacob Zuma, indicated that the former president has the “capacity to take rational decisions even though they impacted negatively on his own life.
…(We’ve) to respect the way President Mbeki handled the matter and the way that he went onto national television and the calm manner in which he announced that he was stepping down,” Pahad added.
Also, he remarked that those “who can really talk about what actually happened in that fateful NEC meeting,” would agree that “the decision was arrived at mainly because there were some people who felt determined to see the humiliation of Thabo Mbeki.”
According to Pahad, the quest to humiliate Mbeki, humiliated the ANC and introduce “bad elements” and wrong ways of working inside the organisation.
“Some of the bad elements were there already and what has happened is that the bad elements in the ANC have been strengthened in a way that is not in the interests of the organisation. This remains true to this day…the long-term impact has been negative for the ANC,” Pahad asserted.