South Africa. In April, the African National Congress (ANC) strengthened its position in Parliament through a new law that allows members to change parties for a limited period without losing their seat. The ANC increased its mandate from 266 to 275 of the 400 members and thus for the first time got a two-thirds majority and the opportunity to change the constitution on its own. The increase was mainly due to the resignation of the New Nationalist Party (NNP), heir to the government party of the apartheid era.
According to Countryaah.com, South Africa Independence Day is December 11. An ANC profile that may have ended its political career was Winnie Mandela. She was sentenced in April to five years in prison, of which one year, conditionally, for fraud and theft. In practice, she was expected to spend less than a year in prison and be served the rest of the sentence through community service. She left her positions in Parliament and the ANC’s executive committee, and resigned as chair of the ANC Women’s Association.
One legendary ANC leader who passed away was Walter Sisulu. He died in May at the age of 90. For decades, Sisulu belonged to the closest circle around Nelson Mandela and spent 26 years in prison in company with him.
A giant scandal that broke for a couple of years demanded its first heavy sacrifice in March. Then Tony Yengeni, one of the ANC’s leading politicians, left the parliament after admitting that he had taken bribes from Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG in connection with major South African arms purchases in 1999. Yengeni was at that time chairman of the parliamentary defense committee. The Prosecutor General’s Office said in August that there were strong reasons to also suspect Vice President Jacob Zuma for involvement in the mutiny. For several years he would have received large sums from the French arms manufacturer Thales. Zuma, however, escaped prosecution because prosecutors did not believe they had enough evidence of a conviction. Swedish Saab is also the subject of mutant thoughts in connection with the sale of 28 combat aircraft of the model JAS 39 Gripen.
After several years of strong criticism for its skeptical attitude to the HIV virus’s spread of AIDS, AIDS, the government decided in November to start distributing brake medication to more than 5 million HIV-infected people. Within one year, all approximately 50 health care districts will have a center for distribution of medicines. About 5.3 million South Africans are estimated to be infected with HIV or have developed AIDS, and about 600 die daily from AIDS-related causes.
1990 Mandela free
In February 1990, they legalized the Klerk ANC and other opposition organizations. Following a series of evictions, the country’s oldest and most celebrated political prisoner, Nelson Mandela, was released on February 11. He had then spent 27 years in prison. A period of negotiations had thus been opened. He was received by the masses upon his release and immediately regained the role of leader of the black majority, despite the fact that this was also marked by internal contradictions. Some of these were due to clashes between the ANC and members of the Zulu people’s Inkatha movement who had not fought apartheid.
The ANC declared that the conflict was between, on the one hand, those advocating a united, democratic and non-racist South Africa, and on the other, those who could not accept losing their privileges. The extreme right wing got nourished in the anguish of the poorest whites and defended the continuation of racial segregation policy.
In May 90, Mandela published an agreement between the ANC and the government aimed at stopping the violence and normalizing political life. He also urged the international community to maintain the economic sanctions and other forms of pressure against the South African government. Sectors within the Left declared that they rejected the negotiations with the government as they destroyed the possibilities of struggle and more radical change. Another factor of uncertainty was the white police whose repressive practices did not change. Among other things, it continued its work of establishing death patrols. The government declared that it was suspending its policy of creating bantustans, whose number was now up to 10. In May 90, racial segregation was abolished in hospitals and six months later in all other public institutions. In December, ANC President Oliver Tambo returned home after 30 years in exile.
In mid-April 91, the EC began to look into the possibility of lifting financial sanctions and set June 30 as the deadline for initiating democratization in the country. On this date, the government repealed the population registration law as well as the land law prohibiting blacks from owning land. At the same time, De Klerk promised to start negotiations on the drafting of a new constitution. The US rushed to lift the sanctions and the EC had plans to do the same, but Denmark and Spain vetoed this step.
Reconciliation and nation building
South Africa was also on the brink of civil war during the demanding negotiations leading up to the 1994 elections. This greatly contributed to nation building and political stability becoming the overall priorities of the ANC-led government. Nelson Mandela himself played a crucial role in bridging opposites and enemy images.
The nation building had several components. One was the constitution and the construction of the new political system. Here, the solution was a liberal model based on power sharing combined with a strong constitutional protection of human rights. Among other things, separate institutions were established to promote and protect such rights. This model was a compromise between the Nationalist Party’s desire for a weak state and protection against abuse from the new majority. For the ANC, it became important to ensure the necessary impetus to promote social and economic rights. Both positions found their compromise in a strong constitution and protection of human rights.
The other important component was the settlement of the past. It became politically impossible to conduct an ordinary court settlement. Instead, a separate Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 1995 under the leadership of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It had legal powers to grant amnesty for abuses and crimes committed during apartheid. Individuals could be granted amnesty if they told everything, often in open hearings, and if the Commission found that this was politically motivated. At the same time, this laid the foundation for individuals to apply to the authorities for compensation and compensation for the abuses.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission produced mixed results. To a large extent, it was the foot soldiers who stood up and applied for amnesty, while the political officials were shielded. To a small extent, the opportunity was used to prosecute the many who did not apply. The compensation also reached few and was often more symbolic than substantial. On the other hand, the organization of the amnesty process through open hearings and a strong media profile over several years should lead to the death of apartheid politically.
The reverse of the nation-building process was too little emphasis on redistribution and stronger state control of the economy. The ANC shrank its more radical demands for restructuring economic policy and focused on market forces to create jobs and economic growth. This was combined with a welfare policy that prioritized social security schemes and the development of schools, health services, social housing and infrastructure for the poorest. This failed in important areas. Unemployment and poverty have not been reduced, although social security schemes have become an important safety net for the poorest. By contrast, there has been a sharp increase in inequality among blacks, with an emerging black middle class in business and the public sector. Since the 10th anniversary of the liberation elections, these deficiencies in the nation-building focus and the inadequate settlement of the social and economic legacy of apartheid have become an increasingly dominant theme in South African political life. This has led to much social unrest and frustration among ANC supporters and voters.
Old and new lines of conflict
25 years after the liberation elections, South Africa is ravaged by many old and new conflict lines. Great poverty and increasing inequality – also among blacks – have reinforced the distinction between poor rich and political conflict about road choices. At the same time, the contradiction between city and country, and between modern and traditional values, has become more significant and an important mobilization card for political actors. Race and ethnic identity have also become more important – not only between whites and blacks, but also between blacks (Africans, Indians, colored). On top of this, South Africa will try to clean up the abuse of power and corruption. This has given rise to many intersecting and overlapping political divides. Most are represented within the dominant ANC.