#Article (Archive)

The End of a Worthy Career

Sep 23, 2008, 5:55 AM

Thabo Mbeki is no longer the president of South Africa. He has resigned his post following immense pressure from within the ANC the party he has led for over ten years. History will offer mixed reactions to the career of Mbeki. Many will praise him for his contributions but many others will critisise him for his perceived failures particularly on the issues of HIV/Aids and the violence that is scourge of many South African cities.

Another major criticism that will be leveled is that he failed to address the gap between rich and poor along racial lines. It must be said that there is now a burgeoning black middle class where there never was before but the gap between the haves and have nots has increased very significantly. Unfortunately the majority of those languishing in poverty are still black.

The resignation comes days after a high court judge suggested that Mr. Mbeki may have interfered in a corruption case against his rival, ANC leader Jacob Zuma.

The decision to call for Mr. Mbeki's early resignation was taken at a meeting of the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC).

The ANC's Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said this was not punishment for Mr. Mbeki, adding that the president would be given the chance to continue his role as mediator in Zimbabwe.

During his term he failed to convince the trade unions and the poorest South Africans that the government has acted in their interest - providing space for Mr. Zuma to mobilise a powerful constituency. In this way it was in a way his own political naiveté that led to his downfall. As with all political careers, history will take different views of the career of Thabo Mbeki. Now is not the time for recrimination. Mbeki should be praised for his contribution to politics not only in South Africa but also to the struggle all over Africa. Thank you Thabo Mbeki for the positive things you did and for the positive things you tried to do.

"Man is by nature a political animal."