Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki (; born 18 June 1942) is a South African politician who served two terms as the second post-apartheid President of South Africa from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008. He is also the brother of Moeletsi Mbeki. On 20 September 2008, he announced his resignation after being recalled by the African National Congress's National Executive Committee, following a conclusion by Judge Nicholson of improper interference in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), including the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for corruption. On 12 January 2009, the Supreme Court of Appeal unanimously overturned Judge Nicholson’s judgment but the resignation stood.
Thabo Mbeki was the executive face of government in South Africa from 1994. During his time in office the economy grew at an average rate of 4.5% per year. Mbeki created employment in the middle sectors of the economy and oversaw a fast-growing black middle class with the implementation of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). This growth exacerbated the demand for trained professionals strained by emigration due to violent crime, but failed to address unemployment amongst the unskilled bulk of the population. He attracted the bulk of Africa’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and made South Africa the focal point of African growth. He was the architect of NEPAD whose aim is to develop an integrated socio-economic development framework for Africa. He also oversaw the successful building of economic bridges to BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations with the eventual formation of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum to "further political consultation and co-ordination as well as strengthening sectoral co-operation, and economic relations".
Mbeki has mediated in difficult and complex issues on the African continent including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Côte d'Ivoire, and some important peace agreements. He oversaw the transition from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU). His 'quiet diplomacy' in Zimbabwe, however, is blamed for protracting the survival of Robert Mugabe's regime at the cost of thousands of lives and intense economic pressure on Zimbabwe's neighbours. He became a vocal leader of the Non-Aligned Movement in the United Nations and while leveraging South Africa's seat on the Security Council, agitating for reform of that body.
Mbeki has received worldwide criticism for his AIDS stance. He questions the link between viruses and AIDS and believes that the correlation between poverty and the AIDS rate in Africa was a challenge to the viral theory of AIDS. His fate was not helped by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and the overhaul of the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa. The delay in distributing antiretroviral drugs is attributed to the ban he placed on their use in public state hospitals, and is also linked to the estimated deaths of some hundreds of thousands. Thabo Mbeki has also been criticized for responding on negative comments made about governance by accusing them of racism.
Read more about Thabo Mbeki: Early Life, Marriage and Family, Exile and Return, Role in African Politics, Economic Policies, Political Style, Mbeki and The Internet, Global Apartheid, Debate With Archbishop Tutu, Mbeki, Zuma, and Succession, Resignation, 2009 General Election, Biographies