In June 1999, Thabo Mbeki’s position in South African politics seemed unassailable. By guiding the African National Congress (ANC) to an election victory that surpassed even the landslide of the ﬁrst fully democratic elections of 1994, he established his authority over the party. He also demonstrated his credibility with the wider electorate, and, most crucially of all, emerged from the shadow of his illustrious predecessor.
Yet, paradoxically, much of this political capital has subsequently been squandered and there is even ofﬁcial public talk of ‘plots’ against him by other ANC ﬁgures like Cyril Ramaphosa. The past two years have witnessed a steady erosion of the effectiveness of the Mbeki presidency coupled with a visible decline in the State President’s international standing.