Former President Mbeki predicts South African ‘Arab Spring’ as government fails to deliver

Angela Merkel and Thabo Mbeki - Image 360b

The former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki has warned that the government’s failure to deliver will result in the country’s own “Arab Spring.”

Speaking at the funeral of African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Jessie Duarte on Saturday, July 12 Mbeki issued a stark warning for current President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Saying Ramaphosa had failed to deliver, he said: “There is no national plan to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, it doesn’t exist.

“To serve the people requires that we address these issues.”

Accusing Ramaphosa of failing to deliver on Mandela’s legacy and his promises of addressing socioeconomic conditions and government corruption, he said that this could result in spontaneous civil unrest triggered by a single event and might “spark our own version of the Arab Spring.

“A street hawker was abused by the police, and that enraged the country; that’s how that massive uprising happened in Tunisia, the problems were brewing beneath the surface and it needed a little spark..

“One of these days it’s going to happen to us, you can’t have so many people unemployed and poor, one day it is going to trigger an uprising.”

Speaking of the legacy that he and others like Jessie Duarte who fought for the freedom of the country’s people, he said: “South Africans are faced with a leadership in the ANC where they see people, one after another, being accused of corruption.”

Billionaire Ramaphosa had promised to bring corruption under control speaking of a “new dawn”, but he has been slow to act resulting in a 2021 survey conducted by Afrobarometer finding that the average person believed corruption had grown under his leadership.

Ramaphosa’s leadership is being challenged within the party as dissent continues to rise, added to which he has been accused of corruption and laundering at his private game farm after the former State Security Agency (SSA) Director Arthur Fraser filed a criminal complaint against him in June 2022 for alleged money laundering, kidnapping and concealing a crime. Ramaphosa has until Friday to respond to a subpoena served by the Public Protector’s Office.

The warning by former President Thabo Mbeki comes at a bad time for South Africa with the country experiencing ongoing power cuts, soaring inflation and growing poverty. Whether the country is in danger of an “Arab Spring” is not clear, but what is clear, is the growing frustration of the people in the country with the government.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at