The African National Congress wished former president Thabo Mbeki a happy 71st birthday on Tuesday.
"We wish president Mbeki a happy and restful birthday and indeed respite, even for just a day, from the important work that he continues to do on the continent..." spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
"The ANC thanks president Mbeki for his contribution to the people of South Africa, Africa, and beyond for the sterling work he has done both domestically and in relation to his immeasurable contribution to ensuring Africa takes her rightful place among the nations of the world."
Mthembu said Mbeki, who was the second democratically elected president, played an invaluable role in making South Africa a better place today than it was in 1994.
"Our gratitude goes also to his family for having shared him with all of us from a very young age."
President Jacob Zuma also wished his predecessor a happy birthday on Tuesday.
"We would like to wish former president Mbeki good health and many happy returns," Zuma said in a statement.
"The whole country is proud of his contribution to the struggle for liberation and the creation of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa, a better Africa, and an equitable world order. Sithi unwele olude Zizi."