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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 January 2006, 06:36 GMT
Mbeki set to face ANC challenges
By Peter Biles
BBC News, Cape Town

President Thabo Mbeki
President Thabo Mbeki is scheduled to leave office in 2009
The South African President Thabo Mbeki is to outline his priorities for the coming year on Sunday.

He will speak in Cape Town at the 94th anniversary celebrations of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

He will also launch the ANC's manifesto for local government elections to be held on 1 March.

The ANC faced political turmoil last year when the former Deputy President Jacob Zuma was charged with corruption and also rape.

South Africa's oldest political party is facing new challenges.

The ANC has been divided by a row over who will succeed Thabo Mbeki and about his style of leadership.

Political damage

Jacob Zuma, the man who was sacked as South Africa's deputy president last year and then charged with corruption, no longer looks like a potential successor.

He is also due to go on trial for rape next month and his political support has withered.

But the Zuma affair has been deeply damaging to the African National Congress and the party desperately needs to heal the rifts and demonstrate unity in the forthcoming local government elections.

After nearly 12 years in power the ANC is under pressure to move faster in improving the quality of life for South Africa's poor.

The economy is strong and much progress has been made but there is anger and frustration in some communities about the lack of basic services and also alleged corruption.

In recent weeks there has been sporadic violence from protesters who say the ANC has failed to deliver on its promises.

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