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Sat May 28 11:59:17 CAT 2016

Mbeki a welcome prospect

Farouk Araie, Johannesburg | 22 January, 2016 00:16
Mbeki is a consummate politician, a right man in the wrong party. File photo
Image by: JAMES OATWAY

South Africa is in election mode for the 2016 elections. Media reports that former president Thabo Mbeki might enter the political arena and add a new dimension in the battle for political supremacy.

His recall by the ANC was a catastrophic blunder; few political events have convulsed the nation as that did. In foreign relations he strengthened South Africa as a middle power, able to punch well above its diplomatic weight.

His philosophy was to stay totally in control. His ability to master briefs and cross-portfolio knowledge was awesome.

Mbeki is a consummate politician, a right man in the wrong party. Even after his humiliating recall, he never repudiated his political past or moorings and instead tried to make his party as inclusive as possible, in line with this country's diversity.

In politics, apart from his oratory and stellar contribution to the liberation struggle, he is known for never bearing a grudge, being respectful but never being overawed by titanic figures, and considerate and conciliatory towards his opponents.

It took the magnanimity and insight of Mbeki to guide our young democracy when beloved Madiba retired.

Under his leadership South Africa was a haven of tranquillity. Courage is a virtue of a great leader, and Mbeki's life in many ways epitomises courage.

This polished intellectual is our patriarch and architect of our nation

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