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Vol 37 No 5

Published 1st March 1996

South Africa

Super-charged Mbeki

Changes in the hierarchy aim to calm foreign nerves about the economy and the sucession

The emergence of Deputy President Thabo Mbeki as a super-minister coordinating economic and development policy strengthens his personal position and points to government concern about the slow pace of reform over the past two years. It also presages a major government reshuffle – probably after the constitution is finalised this May – with new appointments being made in defence, foreign affairs and some social sector ministries. The relationship between President Nelson Mandela and Mbeki (heir-apparent) is being reshaped: Mandela's national galvanising role – the 'new patriotism' that was the theme of his opening of parliament speech – will be emphasised more while Mbeki will take a prime ministerial role, albeit with an economic detail.

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