Former president Mbeki calls for unified national dialogue

Former president Thabo Mbeki delivered a reflective address marking 30 years of South Africa’s democracy under the governance of the ANC.

Mbeki’s remarks, delivered with a blend of retrospection and optimism, offered insight into the country’s journey, its challenges, and the way forward.

The speech, delivered against the backdrop of the Reconstruction and Development Programme, emphasised the ANC’s commitment to addressing poverty and inequality through sustainable economic growth.

Mbeki underscored the importance of collective responsibility, highlighting the need for all sectors of society to contribute to the nation’s renewal and transformation.

ANC’s challenges acknowledged

The former statesman acknowledged the ANC’s recognition of internal challenges, including corruption and ethical lapses among the governing party’s members.

He outlined the party’s commitment to self-renewal and accountability, as outlined in its 2024 election manifesto.

Key promises included strengthening governance, accountability, and ethical leadership within the party and government.

Despite acknowledging persisting challenges such as inequality, unemployment, and crime, Mbeki remained steadfast in his belief in South Africa’s potential for progress.

He called for a concerted effort to address these issues while fostering national unity, cohesion, and ethical values.

Potential for future success

His address emphasised three key messages.

First, he refuted claims that the past three decades were disastrous, instead highlighting the achievements and potential for future success through collective effort.

Second, Mbeki stressed the importance of leadership quality in sustaining democratic governance, urging adherence to principles of good governance regardless of party affiliation.

Finally, the former president addressed the impact of counter-revolutionary forces, calling for a unified national dialogue to overcome the damage caused and shape the country’s future.

“I believe that one of the important lessons we must learn from these first 30 years of democracy in our country is that any political party given the responsibility to govern in any sphere of government must practically be held accountable in terms of such good governance principles and policies.,” he said.

“I am convinced that this is one of the common objectives we must carry forward as a people, as we take whatever steps to define the South Africa we want.

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