South African social media users reacted with disbelief and anger to a recent interview between Mehdi Hasan, a journalist from Al Jazeera, and Baleka Mbete, former speaker of the National Assembly. The interview was broadcast on the news channel’s Head to Head program.
During the interview, Mbete appeared ignorant, defensive and distant from the realities and challenges facing the country at present.
The theme of the interview was that the ruling party in the 25 years since the end of apartheid has denied Nelson Mandela’s dream of a rainbow nation. During the interview, Hasan asked about numerous issues that emerged during this period and which contributed to the country’s economic decline.
Hasan told Mbete that economic progress has been forfeited among the ruling party in the last ten years. “No, because every failure is a lesson and an opportunity to improve,” Mbete replied.
“But even the country’s pres. Cyril Ramaphosa said it lost a decade, ”Hasan refuted.
“I disagree,” was Mbete’s reply.
Below you can see the full interview
JodiAnne, a Twitter user, said Mbete’s responses portray the “impunity, nonchalant attitude of the ruling party”.
Asked about “the 21 corruption scandals that have raged within the party over the past 25 years” and only “one party member that has yet to be accounted for”, Mbete said she was unaware of how much corruption had effected South Africa , and that she only realized in the last few months how bad things really are.
She was also peppered with her support for Tony Yengeni, the party member jailed for corruption and also for being appointed the chairman of the anti-corruption working group.
Hasan also asked Mbete about her view on the World Bank’s findings that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. “I have to say it’s a very [serious] finding, but I wonder if it’s not really an exaggeration? We must see the good and the bad. The World Bank is not God. “
Speaking about South Africa’s status as the country with the fifth-highest homicide rate in the world, Mbete said: “Your point is? I wonder who said that? ”She also said that people could not face the problems South Africa currently faces, such as out-of-control crime, at the ANC’s door.
“It was the colonialists who committed crime here,” she continued.