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Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Thabo Mbeki: Is he losing his touch?
The African National Congress is in turmoil over allegations that three top members have been plotting to oust Thabo Mbeki.
Some say the claims are nonsense and simply show the president's paranoia and lack of judgement.
President Mbeki has also been accused of having an autocratic, arrogant style of leadership, and dangerous views on HIV/Aids.
What do you think? Is Thabo Mbeki a disappointment? Or is he doing a good job in tough circumstances?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Mark CJ, South African in London
Is anyone aware that when Mandela was President, it was Mbeki who was actually running the country behind the scenes? So, I can't really understand when people heap blame on him for issues regarding governance. He might not be a statesman of Mandela's stature, but this does not disqualify him as a leader.
SA is a democratic country which means in time of crisis there are certain procedures to follow. A true test of South African democracy would be the ability to handle a crisis in accordance with the law. President Mbeki is the people's choice and only they can decide whether they are contented with his term of office or not.
President Mbeki has unfortunately been unable to live up to the expectations which were placed on him when he was elected. Many people saw him as someone who could build on the foundations of Mandela, the delivery of service which was required in the country. The three 'plotters' identified by the security services in the country are men of great calibre and I would be proud to see any of them as my president.
Thabo Mbeki, the elected people's president has done a good job, for both South Africa and the continent as a whole. Therefore, I salute him and consider him the true son of Africa. Long live the President!
I think President Mbeki of South Africa has done a good job.
Being a South African who has left the country of his birth I can only say this of my president... I hang my head in shame.
President Thabo Mbeki has taken South Africa to the highest mountain than any other leader in the continent. Since he became president, the role of our women in society's matters has improved, the economy is growing and international and local investors are confident in the country's future.
Angelica, South Africa
Mbeki will face difficulties in governing RSA because he took power from somebody who is regarded as a hero. People expect Thabo to be like Mandela which is not possible at all.
What the RSA people should do is to hold their patience and give Thabo time until he winds up his term of leadership.
Treading the line between running a capitalist liberal state and keeping in touch with an increasingly disillusioned electorate is a formidable task. Mbeki does not have the luxury of effective dictatorship that Mandela's popularity afforded him but he has done pretty much as good a job as could be expected.
Dee, South African in the UK
On the whole South Africa has fared well in shedding off the economic efficiencies of the past to set the country on the path of international competitiveness. A formidable achievement indeed looking back at five years ago. Like all countries, South Africa is besieged with problems but South Africans should focus more on creative ways of contributing to the development of their country as opposed to thinking on the most effective way of moaning and groaning all the time.
Mr Mbeki is the democratically elected president of South Africa. He has no cause to fear if he has the support of the majority of the people of South
Africa. For those who it is alleged are plotting to oust him, I advise they must do so only through the ballot box so that peace and tranquillity can prevail.
I am a South African living in London and go home once a year to see my family. I can honestly say that all that Nelson Mandela stood for and hoped for, Thabo Mbeki has managed to destroy.
He is completely out of touch with the people of his country, both white and black. I believe that since he came into power the country has become non-economical, there is no development and it has become a very violent and disruptive place to live, far from the promised "Rainbow Nation" that we all hoped for.
The sooner Thabo Mbeki leaves his seat of power, the better for all concerned, otherwise I can see another "Zimbabwe" in sight.
We all know what a "mess-up" Mugabe has done, do we want that for South Africa?
I pray not!
Thabo Mbeki, in his short tenure as president, has undone much of what Nelson Mandela did for the country. The feel-good factor has all but been erased, and, to be perfectly fair, I would welcome it if someone of Cyril Ramphosa's calibre occupied the hotseat.
As a young South African, I am dismayed at President Mbeki's inability to handle criticism of any form. Paranoia and the inability to admit he is wrong (HIV/ Aids, Zimbabwe crisis, arms deals etc) is destroying his reputation both at home and abroad and ultimately harming South Africa's in the process. The ANC and Mbeki need to realise the difference between party and state. We need a strong leader and we need him soon.
The answer is simple: President Mbeki is not doing a good job running the country. I am a South African citizen who went to the USA during the Mandela era to study, and my intention was to go back, start my own business and play a part in building the country. But President Mbeki's soft approach towards Zimbabwe created the impression that the business that I want to start, could be "nationalised" somewhere along the line. The argument could be put forward that such actions are prevented by the constitution, but Zimbabwe has shown that a constitution does count for much. Mbeki's soft approach could, therefore, be viewed as "silent agreement" which deters every possible investor.
Thomas Nyongesa, USA/ Kenya
Mr Mbeki is refusing to deal with those issues which affect the people of South Africa the most - Aids and crime. Until the basic safety of South Africans is assured, all his involvement in the international arena as an aspiring "Statesman" is a waste of his time and the country's money.
I was in Johannesburg for 3 months late last year and whilst I was there the local elections were taking place. Not only was I amazed by the techniques that were used by the various parties, I was also amazed that President Mbeki had nothing to say but to slag off British and American politicians.
Yes, I think that his party is certainly on his case - he has no real experience in politics and he does not keep his personal views of other people to himself.
He is certainly watching his back and he needs to for the moment at least.
President Mbeki has ruled for only two years but has been able to win the respect of many people in Africa and the world. Stepping into Mandela's shoes was a big challenge but he has done his best to do his duty for God and his country. Paranoia or no paranoia, Thabo Mbeki still remains a son worthy of Africa.
Tonny Omutsani, USA
Phosa, Sexwale and Ramaphosa still bear inner resentment since Mbeki outmanoeuvred them in the bid to impress Mandela. Now they have a chance of getting back at him and naturally, if I was Mbeki, I too would be paranoid.
In any case, Mbeki is an extremely intelligent man, a formidable Africanist, non-comformist, independent thinker (it is a shame that people are threatened by alternative points of view). Indeed, he has been working under very difficult circumstances. It has been only two years, lets give him space for God's sake!
It would be a shame if the ANC tosses away the democracy they fought so hard to get. It would be all for nothing, merely the replacing of a white cabal with a black one.
Mbeki has a mandate to rule South Africa until the ANC hold the party convention. What is taking place is testing his ability to handle dissent within the party. Unlike his predecessor he lacks charisma and maybe vision. What he has to remind his opponents is that the time is not yet ripe for a change but he will do his best to diffuse controversial issues like the Aids policy.
He seems to be fast taking a country with fantastic potential down to the tragic level of the rest of southern Africa. With the exception of Madela, African leaders time and again badly let down their long-suffering citizens.
26 Apr 01 | Africa
Top ANC men deny 'plot'
25 Apr 01 | Africa
Thabo Mbeki's difficult presidency
27 Apr 01 | Africa
Who's doing the plotting in South Africa?
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