Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, born on 25 June 1942, is a South African politician who was the second president of South Africa from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008, when he resigned at the request of his party, the African National Congress (ANC). Before that, he was deputy president under Nelson Mandela between 1994 and 1999.
The son of Govan Mbeki, a renowned ANC intellectual, Mbeki has been involved in ANC politics since 1956, when he joined the ANC Youth League, and has been a member of the party's National Executive Committee since 1975.
While deputy president, Mbeki had been regarded as a steward of the government's Growth, Employment and Redistribution policy, introduced in 1996, and as president, he continued to subscribe to relatively conservative, market-friendly macroeconomic policies. During his presidency, South Africa experienced falling public debt, a narrowing budget deficit, and consistent, moderate economic growth. However, despite his retention of various social democratic programmes, and notable expansions to the black economic empowerment programme, critics often regarded Mbeki's economic policies as neoliberal, with insufficient consideration for developmental and redistributive objectives. On these grounds, Mbeki grew increasingly alienated from the left wing of the ANC, and from the leaders of the ANC's Tripartite Alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and South African Communist Party. It was these leftist elements which supported Jacob Zuma over Mbeki in the political rivalry that erupted after Mbeki removed the latter from his post as deputy president in 2005.