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Major Political leaders of South Africa

Thabo Mbeki: South Africa’s President is currently in his second five-year term, following his ruling ANC gaining almost 70% of the vote in the April 2004 general election.


Though somewhat overshadowed by Nelson Mandela while the latter was president between 1994 and 1999, Mbeki has been credited with conducting much of the day to day political activity in those years and putting in place many of the reforms in the new South Africa.

On the international stage, President Mbeki has worked to broker peace agreements in a number of regional conflicts and to promote development in Africa.

His government has come under fire for failing to address the problems posed by inflation, high unemployment and inequitable income distribution.

He is constitutionally limited to two terms in office. He is due to step down in 2009.

Nelson Mandela: Though officially retired from active politics in 1999, Nelson Mandela remains an international figure representing South Africa and its transition from white-only rule to a multi-ethnic society.

The former lawyer, who spent 27 years behind bars after being convicted of treason, emerged from captivity in 1990 to lead the drive to dismantle apartheid and establish a fully representative democracy in South Africa.

Since his retirement from politics, Mandela has acted as an international elder statesman, helping to mediate in conflicts between southern African nations, promoting awareness of HIV/AIDS, and supporting initiatives to alleviate poverty in developing countries.

Jacob Zuma:  He was elected ANC party leader in December 2007, placing him in a good position to become the next president.

Major political parties:

African National Congress (ANC),

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP),National Party (NP),

United Party (UP).

Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008