Johannesburg – Former ANC and South African President Thabo Mbeki has once again thrown the cat among the pigeons in a letter he wrote to the governing party.
Mbeki’s letter was written on Wednesday and later on the day it was leaked and started making the rounds mainly on WhatsApp groups of ANC leaders.
It was addressed to the party’s deputy president, Paul Mashatile, raising questions about what made Mbeki feel it could not be addressed to Fikile Mbalula, the party’s secretary general.
In the main, Mbeki’s letter is about the Phala Phala scandal that has consumed the party and President Cyril Ramaphosa for almost a year.
Mbeki raised serious concerns about the manner the party has managed it, saying it has all the hallmarks of how Nkandlagate that entangled former President Jacob Zuma was handled.
He also said he was disturbed by the way the ANC has voted on the matter of Eskom, where some MPs wanted the corruption allegations in the state-owned power utility company to be probed.
“You will also recall that the Phala Phala matter broke over our heads in June 2022 when Arthur Fraser lodged his complaint against our Comrade President with the SAPS.
“Since then many questions relating to this matter have been posed in the public domain.
“So far, nine (9) months after the Fraser complaint, none of these questions has been answered!
“The recent report by SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter that no record of the declaration to Customs has been found of the US $580 000 Cde President Ramaphosa says was stolen, deepens the puzzle about what exactly happened at Phala Phala farm!
“In this context, consistent with what Comrade President Ramaphosa said in the Open Letter I have cited, we must be honest with ourselves and understand that many among the masses of our people will entertain the suspicion that the Phala Phala matter includes corruption.
“In that sense this is no different from the ‘Nkandla matter’ which, once again, many among our people suspected involved corrupt practice!
“History had made the firm and unequivocal statement that we should never have acted as we did for a long time to support Comrade JZ from doing what he ultimately agreed was the right thing to do, i.e. to honour the Remedial Action decided by the Public Protector. Without doubt, the wrong positions we took with regard to the Nkandla matter, impacted negatively on the standing of the ANC with many among the masses of our people. It is equally without doubt that any wrong position we take with regard to the Phala Phala matter will also in equal measure or more, impact negatively on the standing of the ANC with many among the masses of our people!” Mbeki wrote to Mashatile.
Mbeki also raised his concerns regarding how the ANC approached the Phala Phala matter in parliament.
That was when it voted to throw out the report of the three-member panel which was led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.
“As you know, the 3-person Panel appointed by Parliament concerning the Phala Phala matter decided that the Comrade President ‘had a case to answer’ with regard to a process of impeachment.
“What should have followed this is that the National Assembly would have appointed a Multi-Party Committee (MPC) precisely to investigate the matter of whether the Comrade President did indeed have a case to answer!
“To conclude its work, however long this took, the MPC would approach the National Assembly to recommend whether the President should be impeached or not…
“The way we voted on 13 December 2022 to block the process of the formation of an MPC communicated the unequivocal statement to the masses of the people that we do not want Parliament to seek and gain a deeper and comprehensive understanding of the Phala Phala matter.
“In other words, we acted as we did because there is something to hide!” Mbeki said.
Mbeki further listed other issues the ANC voted against in parliament like probing Eskom, saying they move the ruling party away from the masses.
“It was very wrong that we took a decision to veto the initiation of a Parliamentary process specifically focused on investigating the criminal activities at Eskom, which would have signified the beginning of the process to unmask the counter revolution which may be responsible for the many problems at Eskom, consistent with what it tried to do at SARS.
“In any case, the public would expect that our Government would act immediately to investigate serious allegations of criminality directed at weakening the SOEs, such as those made by the outgoing Eskom CEO, André de Ruyter when he said that Eskom was afflicted by serious instances of corruption, sabotage and criminal cartels.
“It will have come across to this public as very strange and disturbing that when a proposal was made that Parliament should undertake such a focused investigation into the alleged criminality at Eskom, we promptly voted against an eminently correct proposal,” he wrote.