South Africa. Many of today's and yesterday's leaders
appeared during the year before the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, which investigated crimes during the apartheid
era. Several leaders within the African National Congress
(African National Congress) acknowledged that the movement
tortured and killed dissidents, but in principle defended
the methods used in the fight against apartheid. Among white
leaders who asked for forgiveness for apartheid injustices
were former Foreign Minister Pik Botha and former Police
Minister Adriaan Vlok. However, their boss, former president
FW de Klerk, did not admit guilt, but his representative PW
Botha risked prosecution after he refused to be heard.
Countryaah, five security officers admitted that in 1977 they had
killed Liberty leader Steve Biko. Their attempts to obtain
official forgiveness were met by protests from the Biko
family, who demanded that they be brought to justice.
Towards the end of the year, harsh accusations were made in
the commission hearings against President Nelson Mandela's
former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, in April re-elected
as leader of the ANC Women's Association. She was held
responsible for a number of murders of black youths and a
doctor in Soweto in the late 1980s but rejected all charges.
The Truth Commission proposed in October that
approximately 22,000 victims of apartheid should be
compensated with SEK 35,000. each for six years, a total of
about SEK 5 billion.
In August, FW de Klerk left the policy. He was succeeded
as leader of the Nationalist Party, National Party (NP), by
Marthinus van Schalkwyk. One of NP's calving calves, Roelf
Meyer, left the party after being criticized for going too
far in modernizing NP. Together with Bantu Holomisa, who was
excluded from the ANC after accusing leading party members
of corruption, he formed the United Democratic Movement,
United Democratic Movement (UDM).
At the ANC congress in December, Nelson Mandela left the
chair. New President was elected Vice President Thabo Mbeki,
who is also likely to succeed Mandela as President in 1999.
Jacob Zuma, head of government in the KwaZulu/Natal
province, was elected Deputy Chairman.
South Africa abolished the death penalty in November. The
last execution took place in 1989. However, there was a
strong opinion to resume the executions as part of the fight
against high crime. Among other things, Winnie
Madikizela-Mandela demanded a referendum on the revival of
the death penalty.
South Africa's economy was predominantly fragile with the
exception of some export sectors such as wine, arms and
cars, which benefited from the country's stable currency -
the rand. The tighter political situation in neighboring
Zimbabwe caused investment to fall in the region; the
drought in 2002 worsened food shortages in southern Africa
and poverty was exacerbated by the AIDS/HIV epidemic.
In July 2002, the Constitutional Court forced the
government to launch a comprehensive national program to
prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to children. As
part of the treatment, the mothers should take the
antiretroviral medication Nevirapine.
The same month, the African Union (AU) was formed in
Durban. An idea originally fostered by Libyan leader Muammar
al-Khaddafi. The AU replaces the OAU, considered by many to
be a "dictators' club". The new organization's focus is on
the progress of the African people and proper governance.
The AU is made up of 53 countries and has modeled the
European Union (EU). Although, like the OAU, it emphasizes
non-interference in the internal affairs of the countries,
it is nevertheless possible in the case of genocide or war
crimes. To this end, the organization has a peacekeeping
force and a supranational court. It also has a central bank
that seeks to introduce a single currency. Mbeki was elected
as the organization's first chairman.
In April 2004, the 3rd parliamentary elections were held
since the abolition of apartheid, giving the ANC 70% of the
vote. Mbeki was thus re-elected and promised that he would
not let go of the people who had given the ANC majority.
Mbeki promised that the government would provide all the
South African families with water and electricity that had
already waited 5-8 years to get these supplies in place. He
also stated that by March 2004, 113 health centers had been
opened, reaching 53,000 South Africans in the fight against
HIV/AIDS. Mbeki had so far been subjected to considerable
criticism from both home and abroad for not taking
sufficient steps in the fight against the epidemic. The
government accepted the criticism and declared that it would
do more to treat the sick and would make the medicine more
accessible and cheaper.
In July, Cape Floral in the Cape Province was recognized
by UNESCO as one of the world's richest areas for aquatic
plants and flora. Within this area, 20% of the African
continent is found and is a living example of development
and biodiversity. At least 70% of Cape Floral's 9,000 plant
species are found only there. The government declared itself
willing to allow tourists access to the area under regulated
conditions. It will both create jobs and provide the country
The same month, information from the Famine Early Warning
Systems Network (FEWS) indicated that in 2004-05, the
country will continue to face serious problems in the birth
of the population.
In January 2005, President Mandela admitted that his
eldest son - the only survivor - had died of AIDS. He
insisted that the only way to fight the disease was to talk
openly about it.
In June 2005, Vice President Jacob Zuma's financial
adviser, Achabir Shaik was sentenced to prison for
corruption. Shaik had used the Vice President's name to
enter into favorable agreements with a French firm. The vice
president rejected any knowledge of the case. However, the
South African press unanimously demanded the departure of
Zuma, who, after pressure from Mbeki, had to give up his
post. Similarly, 21 politicians, most MPs and ex-deputies
from the ANC, were charged in court with fraud involving
state funds for luxury travel, dinners and car rentals.