Expert Weighs In on Thabo Mbeki’s Warning That South Africa Will See Its Own Arab Spring

Expert Weighs In on Thabo Mbeki’s Warning That South Africa Will See Its Own Arab Spring

  • Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president, recently warned that the government needs to fix the many issues that plague the country
  • Mbeki stated that if the ANC government continues to fail the people, a version of the Arab Spring will be seen in SA
  • An expert has weighed on Mbeki's claim and says the issue is more complex because South Africa has a different political space

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JOHANNESBURG - Former President Thabo Mbeki had a stern warning for African National Congress leader during the late ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Durate's memorial service.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki
Former President Thabo Mbeki says the ANC government needs to tackle unemployment, inequality and poverty to prevent an Arab Spring event. Image: Fani Mahuntsi
Source: Getty Images

Mbeki warned that South Africa could be faced with its own version of the Arab Spring if ANC leaders do not get their act together. The former president stated that if the governing party needs a national plan to address poverty, inequality and unemployment.

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"You can't have so many people unemployed, so many people living in poverty, faced with lawlessness and faced with corrupt leadership and not expect the situation to not one day explode," said Mbeki.

Mbeki added that in honour of Duarte, the ANC needed to tackle the problems it is faced with, reports News24.

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The Arab Spring uprisings were led by young people who were educated and fed up with their authoritarian governments who were corrupt. They managed to overthrow these governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Sandy Africa, an associate professor of political sciences and deputy dean of teaching and learning at the University of Pretoria, recently stated that South Africans are still nervous that there might be a repeat of the July unrest, especially because instigators have not yet been arrested.

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When it comes to uprisings like the Arab Spring, Africa notes that South Africa is a different political space. She explained that since South Africa has a noisey democracy, criticism and insults to the government do not carry the same weight as other countries, reports TimesLIVE.

She explains that South Africa is also in election mode every three years because national elections and local government overlap each other and happen every four and five years, respectively. The country being in election mode so often absorbs the energy of discontent that people may have because there is often a change of leadership.

She adds that while young people are normally engaged in protest action, their issues are usually localised and driven by a single issue, like the #FeesMustFall protest, unlike the Arab Spring that was spurred on by a number of issues that had been bubbling over for a long time.

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Africa also noted that some of the young people who participated in the #FeesMustFall protests five years ago are in parliament today, which shows that the political space has changed since then.

While a nationwide uprising might be unlikely, there is the off chance that the July unrest could be repeated, or there could be an increase in lawlessness in South Africa if the lives of South Africans are not improved.

Julius Malema rips into former President Thabo Mbeki over his controversial remarks on Cyril Ramaphosa

Briefly News previously reported that Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema has called out former President Thabo Mbeki for his recent remarks about President Cyril Ramaphosa. Mbeki was speaking at ANC stalwart Jessie Duarte’s memorial service, and he said that Ramaphosa had not fulfilled his promises.

The remarks garnered mixed reactions and criticisms on social media. Adding to the voice of many South Africans, Malema said Mbeki has “no moral authority” to speak out against Ramaphosa’s leadership and failures. He said the presidency must be protected with everything. According to the EFF presser, Malema said:

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“Whether he was right or wrong, the way he [Ramaphosa] acted was wrong. Pure gangsterism, pure thuggery.”

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Source: Briefly News

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