Thursday, April 23, 2009



By Nkululeko Ncana
Apr 23, 2009

Ousted ANC president mum on vote, but Cope appears to claim his X

WHO did former president Thabo Mbeki vote for? That’s the question on many minds after Mbeki, who served as president of both the ANC and the country for 10 years, dodged the issue yesterday.

Judging by comments made by the Congress of the People deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa, on Facebook, the new party believes it got his vote.

But Mbeki, who was unceremoniously removed from office by the ANC in September at the end of a power struggle with party president Jacob Zuma, wasn’t saying.

“It’s a secret ballot so don’t ask me who I voted for,” he told journalists after voting at the Holy Family College in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Accompanied by his wife, Zanele, Mbeki appeared in good spirits, saying the elections were important as they allowed citizens to determine the country’s future.

“… I think that future in part depends on people voting according to their consciences [and] people understanding the responsibility that each one of us bears as a voter,” he said.

Mbeki did not campaign for the ANC, fuelling speculation that he backed Cope, which was launched by ANC dissidents shortly after his axing.

Shilowa wrote on Facebook that he had “liked” Mbeki’s message. ‘‘He said his vote is secret. He called on all South Africans to vote not on the basis of fear of history but for a future they desired and for a party they believe will forward their aspirations,” Shilowa said.

While Mbeki’s loyalties remain in question, those of his predecessor, Nelson Mandela, were clear. Madiba was accompanied by ANC Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile to vote at the Killarney Country Club, in Houghton, Johannesburg.