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Mandela Backs Mbeki's Presidential Bid - 2002-04-04

Former South African president Nelson Mandela says he will back current president Thabo Mbeki in his bid for a second term in 2004.

Mr. Mandela said in a radio interview that he would strongly support President Mbeki, adding he thought the president had done a "marvelous job" thus far.

However, he voiced concern about the government's reluctance to provide anti-AIDS drugs to South Africans. Federal authorities are embroiled in a court battle over whether the government is obligated to provide medication to people who are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Mr. Mandela has been calling on the Mbeki administration to change its position.

President Mbeki has come under fire in the past for his stance on AIDS. He has publicly questioned the link between AIDS and HIV.

He succeeded Mr. Mandela in 1999.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.