25 April 2019

South Africa: Back to the Future - Tony Leon and Thabo Mbeki On the Campaign Trail

analysis

Voters were treated to a double blast from the past this week as the ANC resurrected former president Thabo Mbeki and the DA dragged in its founder leader Tony Leon to campaign. The home stretch to election day is unlikely to get more exciting than this.

It's been at least a decade since Tony Leon and Thabo Mbeki have been on the campaign trail, but times have changed. With about two weeks to an election riddled with some new uncertainties in both their parties, the former leaders are back in politics, if only for a few days.

Not that they've really been away. Leon has been writing columns for the Business Day and coining it from doing PR for Cape Town's "day zero", while Mbeki has the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and he's been doing work as an elder on the continent. Occasionally he broke his silence to criticise the ANC of Jacob Zuma.

On Tuesday night, after addressing a small meeting at Leriba Lodge in Centurion, Leon said it was an interesting coincidence that both he and Mbeki hit the campaign trail on the same day, right after the Easter long weekend.

"It's what they call, I think, a correlation...

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