Thabo Mbeki - an Enigma Waiting to Unfold

By Nevin, Tom | African Business, March 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Thabo Mbeki - an Enigma Waiting to Unfold


Nevin, Tom, African Business


When the results of South Africa's second fully democratic elections are announced in May, the man most likely to step into the breach left by Nelson Mandela will be Thabo Mbeki. Despite his high-profile, Mbeki remains an enigma. How will he deal with the country's growing list of problems?

When president Nelson Mandela addressed his final opening of Parliament in Cape Town in mid-February, he spoke of the successes the ANC-led government had achieved since taking over in 1994. He also used much of the time to describe the road that lies ahead for his successor, Thabo Mbeki, after South Africa's second fully democratic elections in late May.

In a nutshell, Mandela said it would be business as usual, but with a greater degree of urgency to implement policy. "The policies we have accord with the needs of the moment," said Mandela. "There is no need to change them. Yet the speed and style of implementing them can be improved." That job has been handed to Mbeki.

No easy walk for Mbeki

The road that stretches ahead of Mbeki is so pot-holed that it will provide no easy walk for the new president, let alone a comfortable ride. He must put a lid on a crime epidemic spinning crazily out of control. He must root out corruption. He must deliver a health programme that works and an education system that gets kids through their exams. He must make good on the government's pledge to put roofs over the heads of the poor. He must convince the international financial community to invest in South Africa. He must get South Africans working. He must at least make a start in the reconstruction and recovery of the country's economy.

South Africa's most pressing problem is crime, more specifically violent crime that claims thousands of lives every year. For the past five years, the government has been careful not to headline crime on its list of priorities - in spite of the fact that it is the single most cancerous of all South Africa's ills. It keeps out foreign investment, drives professionals and technicians from of the country in their thousands seeking safer pastures, stagnates tourism and is desperately morale-draining.

If there is a prophecy the government wants fulfilled it is that crime will go away if they ignore it. A few hours before president Mandela told parliament that "there is hope" in the fight against crime, the head of Korea's Daewoo Motors in South Africa was shot to death in an apparently botched car hi-jacking in Johannesburg, and a few hours afterwards, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was apologising to the diplomatic community for an armed robbery on the Canadian High Commissioner in Cape Town. Nor only must Thabo Mbeki rearrange his government's priorities and tackle crime as the most important task, he must also be seen to mean business.

He is not expected to reintroduce the death penalty, something that has firmly been ruled out by Mandela, but must seek harsher mandatory penalties for serious crime, must tighten bail conditions and must come down heavily on crooked police and prison authorities where many criminals slip through South Africa's justice system.

When he opened parliament, Mandela conceded that the ANC is adopting the criminal habits of the old National Party. He noted that some ANC members were as corrupt, if not more so, than members of the old regime. This is something Mbeki has already publicly acknowledged, and declared himself ready and more than able to tackle.

South Africa, like the rest of the continent, is no stranger to 'isms'. There's nepotism, cronyism, tribalism and a host of others. What Thabo Mbeki will have to deal with is the rampant 'now-it's-my-turnism'.

The British colonists who ruled a subjugated South Africa at the turn of the last century answered to no other authority than a distant crown. The civil service was staffed with settlers and expatriates of British stock and little heed was paid to the indigenous or Afrikaner population.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Thabo Mbeki - an Enigma Waiting to Unfold
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.