Mbeki was speaking during a more than two-hour interview with Gauteng-based radio station Power FM on Thursday night. He said the “habit of telling lies” had crept into the party at the 2007 conference.
“A lot of what happened at that conference was based on lies. Lies were told to Juju [Julius Malema] by people. He had no reason to disbelieve it and, quite correctly, he acted on the lies. And then he discovers much later that he was lied to,” Mbeki said, to the amusement of the audience.
Malema was one of those who led Jacob Zuma’s presidential campaign, alongside former Cosatu president Zwelinzima Vavi and SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande.
Both Malema and Vavi have since apologised for their campaign, while Nzimande has said he felt betrayed by Zuma.
Mbeki was running for a third term as ANC President in 2007, but faced a bruising defeat to his then deputy, Zuma.
Mbeki had fired Zuma in 2006, after he was implicated during the fraud and corruption trial of his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.
Malema, who was in the audience, backed Mbeki and said they had been “misled”. He told the audience gathered in Sandton that they had been told two lies: that Mbeki wanted to amend the Constitution to remain president of the country forever, and that he was concocting charges against Zuma.
“And thank God, we lived to see it for ourselves that no one was concocting charges. Zuma was corrupt. He still got new accusations in the absence of those concocting charges against him,” Malema said.
Zuma, at the time, faced 783 charges, stemming from the 1999 arms deal. The DA has been waging an eight-year battle to have the charges reinstated after then-National Prosecuting Authority boss Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges against Zuma.
Mbeki said the watershed conference had refused to discuss his political report that detailed the problems which were plaguing the ANC today.
He said the same problems were now contained in Secretary General Gwede Mantashe’s diagnostic report delivered at the party’s policy conference last week.
Mantashe’s report talked about state capture by the Gupta family, factionalism and gatekeeping. Mbeki said that Mantashe had, however, failed to address the use of “lies to achieve particular objectives”.
Mbeki said he had warned in his 2007 political report that the ANC risked losing support.
“I say that in 2012, we going to celebrate the centenary of the ANC. We must be careful that we are not the only people who celebrate that centenary, and the rest of country stays away because of our misbehaviour.
“They didn’t want to discuss it because a lot of what happened at that conference was based on lies,” Mbeki said at the time.