South Africa

Lack of quality leadership the cause of SA’s problems – Thabo Mbeki

Taking another jab at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration, Thabo Mbeki said the country’s current crop of leaders left much to be desired.

Mbeki was in conversation with students at Unisa on Wednesday, on the 14th anniversary of his resignation as the president of the Republic after being recalled by the ANC.

He said: “I think we face a major, major challenge here at home; it’s a leadership challenge.”

Mbeki alluded to the country facing “enormous challenges with the economy, politics, matters of peace, and the safety of the population”.

He said many of these challenges could be solved through having good leadership in government and in society.


According to the former president, the rolling power blackouts was one of the biggest problems facing the country, which could be resolved by having qualified leadership at the helm.

“Just before I came here, the former statistician-general, Pali Lehohla, was making a very interesting point about the energy crisis.”

He said:

He (Lehohla) was saying Eskom is a big institution, but it is also a big business. Therefore, in terms of its leadership, we need engineers and economists, but what do we have as its leadership? We have politicians and accountants as its leadership.

“I am not saying he was right, but this is what he said. He was looking again at this question that I am trying to raise about the quality of leadership in our country. It’s reflected with regards to this energy matter: Why do we seem to be incapable as a country of addressing this energy crisis?

“Is it the issue that Lehohla raises that we should put engineers in charge? Maybe that is the answer,” said the former statesman.

This is not the first time that Mbeki has taken a swipe at Ramaphosa.

At the funeral of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte in July, Mbeki said the incumbent had failed to deliver the comprehensive social compact he had promised during his State of the Nation Address.


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