Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki (born June 18, 1942) is a South African politician, currently President of South Africa.

President Thabo Mbeki

He was born in the Transkei. His father was Govan Mbeki (1910 - 2001), a leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and of the South African Communist Party.

Mbeki joined the African National Congress at the age of 14, representing it abroad from 1967. Appointed head of the ANC's information department in 1984 and of its international department in 1989, he became a vice-president of South Africa in May 1994 on the attainment of majority rule, and sole vice-president in June 1996. He succeeded Nelson Mandela as ANC president in December 1997 and as president of the Republic in June 1999.

Mbeki has played the leading role in the formation of NEPAD and the African Union, and played influential roles in brokering peace deals in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has also played a leading role in attempting to restore dialogue between Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and the opposition MDC, although he has faced heavy criticism for his policy of 'quiet diplomacy', and opposing Mugabe's recent suspension from the Commonwealth.

Mbeki has also been heavily criticised both domestically and internationally for his views on the causes and treatment of AIDS, notably his defence (April 2000) of a small group of dissident scientists who claim that the HIV virus is not the cause of the disease. Though applauded by AIDS activists for its successful legal defence (April 2001) of cheaper locally-produced AIDS drugs against action brought by transnational pharmaceutical companies, his government has been accused of failing to respond adequately to the epidemic, which now affects one in ten of South Africa's population. Perhaps against his best wishes, South Africa now however has a comprehensive, orthodox, plan to combat the effects of HIV and AIDS.

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