2000: Mbeki Fingers CIA in AIDS Conspiracy
In an address to African National Congress MPs at a caucus meeting in Parliament on September 28, 2000, Mbeki was reported as saying that the CIA was working covertly alongside the US pharmaceutical industry to undermine him as he posed a risk to drug company profits. Mbeki denied the story as a "pure invention", in a BBC Hard Talk interview.
According to an article in the Mail&Guardian, Mbeki had also said that South Africa's leadership of the developing world was threatening the world economic order, and the HIV/AIDS case was one example where corporate entities were putting pressure on him to ease his offensive against traditional economic structures. He allegedly stated that if HIV caused AIDS, then it followed that the condition should be treated with drugs produced by big Western drug companies. He also allegedly accused the TAC of being funded by US drug companies and accused fellow Cabinet members of disloyalty to the presidency.
Shortly after the article was published, Mbeki announced to the ANC's National Executive Committee that he was withdrawing from public debate on the science of HIV/AIDS, according to the Sunday Times. Ten days later, the AFP reported that Mbeki said his comments "didn't represent a withdrawal" and he would "continue to be interested in various questions in regard to this".