Afrique : histoire, economie, politique

Ce qui s'est passé en 1999

Janvier 99 :

South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission says it will not grant an amnesty to a former policeman implicated in the death of leading anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko in 1977.
Former security police colonel Gideon Nieuwoudt failed to prove a political motive for the killing, the TRC said in a statement outlining its reasons for refusing the amnesty.

The decision has been welcomed by Mr Biko's son, Nkosinathi.
"The committee made a decision consistent with the evidence at their disposal," he told the South African Press Association.

He said he was hopeful the TRC would take a similar stance with the remaining three policemen implicated in his father's death.
Steve Biko's death sparked worldwide condemnation
Correspondents say Monday's ruling could open the way to a murder trial for the ex-policeman.

However, Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Les Roberts said no decision would be taken to prosecute Mr Nieuwoudt or his former colleagues until the outcome of other amnesty applications were known. There is no indication of when that might be.

Nkosinathi Biko said he believed the policemen lied about his father's death when they said they were seeking to defend themselves after Mr Biko attempted to attack them.
"The injuries my father sustained are not consistent with that information," he said.
"He had bruises all over his body, his rib cage, his left eye and a number of lesions on the brain."
Amnesty requirements :
Mr Nieuwoudt, who testified before the Commission last year, said Mr Biko died after hitting his head against a wall during a scuffle with security policemen when he attempted to attack one of his interrogators.

The Commission said Mr Nieuwoudt's application for amnesty did not satisfy the requirements of Section 20 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, which provides for the granting of amnesty.

The law says any unlawful act committed by state employees or security forces could only be considered for amnesty if it was regarded as necessary to achieve, or contribute to achieving the destruction of the opposition.

Mars 99 :

Political leaders in South Africa have begun campaigning for the country's second democratic general election, now set for June the second.

The Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, told a series of rallies near Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal province, that the governing African National Congress was the party best able to unite the nation.

Mr Mbeki, who is expected to succeed President Mandela, said people were reaping the benefits of peace in KwaZulu-Natal, after years of violence.

This theme was taken up by the leader of the rival Inkatha Freedom Party, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who called for tolerance at a rally on the outskirts of Durban. The leader of the right-wing Freedom Front, Constand Viljoen, said he wanted to co-operate with other opposition parties in an attempt to prevent the ANC from gaining a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Mars 99 :

South Africa's governing African National Congress has launched its manifesto, ahead of the country's second multi-racial elections scheduled for 2 June.

Music and cheers greeted Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, the man set to succeed President Nelson Mandela if the ANC wins the election, as is widely expected.
Thabo Mbeki: Expected to lead ANC to a second election victory
It is Mr Mbeki's job to lead the ANC campaign as it moves ever closer to the vote.

The launch of the ANC manifesto is a sign that the election bandwagon is well and truly rolling.

The ANC's record in its first five years in government is set out in the manifesto as the foundation from which the government hopes to build its second term.

It outlines a five-point plan for a further term in office, encompassing :

job creation
health care
crime and corruption.
The ANC has been criticised for promising too much in its first term of government, but it appears no less ambitious this time around.
Mr Mbeki is promising five years of what he calls accelerated change as the ANC commits itself to the further transformation of South Africa.

Mars 99 :

South Africa's President Nelson Mandela and his deputy and designated political heir Thabo Mbeki have launched the African National Congress' campaign for June's general elections.
Unveiling the ANC's policies at a rally in Johannesburg's Soweto township, Thabo Mbeki said the party will remain true to its promise of a "a better life for all".

That was the rallying cry when President Mandela came to power in 1994, and Mr Mbeki said this time, the ANC will step up the pace of change.
President Mandela has made his last appearance in parliament
He said: "We have started, we have made progress. What we must do now is to move forward faster.

"We must make sure more people get better houses, we must make sure more people get better health care.

"We must build more clinics, train more nurses, we must make sure the price of medicine goes down, we must build more classrooms and train more teachers to make sure our children get a better education."

Thabo Mbeki ended the speech by saying the party is committed to faster job creation.

BBC Johannesburg Correspondent Greg Barrow says the ANC has been criticised for promising too much in its first term of government, but it appears no less ambitious this time around.
Mandelas steal the show
Although Mr Mbeki did most of the talking, President Mandela stole the show with an unscheduled appearance and brought the crowd to their feet, singing and waving ANC flags.

The president, who has already handed over the party leadership to his deputy, is retiring from government.

At the rally, Mr Mbeki was drowned out again halfway into his speech when President Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrived and was cheered by the crowd.
"Viva the president of the African National Congress Women's League," Mr Mbeki said in acknowledgement of her arrival.

Mai 99 :

A notorious apartheid era assassin took full responsibility for the activities of his undercover unit as he began an appeal for amnesty in South Africa.

Eugene de Kock, known by the nickname Prime Evil, is serving a 262-year jail term for his crimes, which include the murder of several opponents of apartheid.

He has admitted taking part in a number of gruesome killings as well as terrorising his own colleagues while head of the Vlakplaas police unit.
Greg Barrow: "The man known as Prime Evil"
Appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Pretoria, he apologised to the families of this victims.

"We wasted the most precious gift, which is life. I would like to tell those families that I am very sorry about it."

The TRC has the power to grant amnesty to human rights violators whose crimes are linked to a political motive and who make a full confession.

"For my actions and the actions of Vlakplaas and members of Vlakplaas, I take responsibility," the 49-year-old ex-colonel said.
Unit killed across Africa
De Kock described Vlakplaas as a military-style unit that operated across southern Africa and often covered up for the security services.

He said he took responsibility for the actions of the unit, "even if I was not personally present".
He described the murders of a number of African National Congress members, in countries including Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Angola, naming the police commander above him in each case.

In one case in 1985, then President PW Botha ordered the deaths of ANC guerillas in Lesotho, De Kock said he was told at the time.

Freedom possible
BBC Southern Africa correspondent Greg Barrow says De Kock stands an outside chance of being granted amnesty for his crimes because of his co-operation in uncovering some of the darkest secrets of South Africa's apartheid history.

His full and frank accounts of life as an undercover policeman have helped the commission trace responsibility for human rights abuses to the highest positions in the apartheid government.
Thabo Mbeki: plea for group amnesties
Meanwhile the ANC government has called for legislation to allow groups or parties to claim amnesty for crimes committed under apartheid.

ANC Deputy President Thabo Mbeki said the new amnesty could include police and military generals and the Inkatha Freedom Party, according to the Citizen newspaper.

At the moment the law restricts amnesty to individuals who admit specific human rights crimes.

Mr Mbeki said the required legislation could be ready to go before parliament after the election on 2 June, which his party is expected to win.

Mai 99 :

A court has begun hearing an appeal by the former President of South Africa, PW Botha, against his conviction for contempt of the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Mr Botha, 82, was not present for the appeal hearing at Cape High Court in Cape Town on Friday - nor were the protesters who demonstrated when he was found guilty in August last year.
Jeremy Vine in Johannesburg: More evidence of his role has emerged in a newspaper
The former president, who ruled between 1978 and 1989, was found guilty of contempt after he refused to co-operate with the Truth Commission.

He was fined $1,600, but immediately said he would appeal.

The Truth Commission had wanted to question Mr Botha about his role in the state security council, which allegedly authorised the killing of political opponents.

The former president claimed the commission was biased and that he had done nothing wrong that he ought to confess.

The BBC South Africa Correspondent Jeremy Vine says if he manages to overturn the fine, he will have avoided most of the consequences of not testifying to the commission.
'Gross human rights violations'

In its report made public at the end of October, the Truth Commission said that Mr Botha had been responsible for gross human rights violations that occurred during his rule.

They included killing people opposed to the policies of his government, and the widespread use of torture, abduction, arson and sabotage.

He was also held responsible for ordering an attack against the anti-apartheid South African Council of Churches (SACC) in 1988.

He faces legal action arising from these allegations, should state prosecutors decide to pursue the charges.
But last year prosecutors made it clear they did not feel the evidence collected against him could support a criminal prosecution.
More evidence of his role and of the former National Party leader, FW De Klerk, has emerged in a UK newspaper which published minutes of a security meeting in 1984 it said could link them both to state-sponsored murders.

The minutes published in The Guardian relate to the killings in 1985 of activists known as the Cradock Four.

Mr De Klerk and Mr Botha were apparently at a meeting where another minister said one of the Cradock Four, Matthew Goniwe, should be removed or eliminated.

In the past, Mr Botha has said such words may have been misunderstood.

Juin 99 :

The former South African President, PW Botha, has won his appeal against a conviction for contempt imposed after he refused to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The decision by the High Court in Cape Town overturns a fine of $1,557 or a one year suspended sentence, imposed by a magistrate last year.
BBC's Jane Standley: "The judges who overturned this conviction are both white"
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission had summoned Mr Botha in December 1997 to question him on his role as head of the State Security council.

His lawyers challenged the summons on technical grounds, saying the Truth Commission had not followed correct procedures in issuing its subpoena.

State prosecutor Bruce Morrison said the government would have to study the decision before deciding whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Botha, who is 82 and was not in court, has accused the Commission of bias and described it as a 'circus'. He has always maintained he has nothing to apologise for and will never apply for amnesty.

However, in its final report the Truth Commission held Mr Botha accountable for gross violations of human rights.

BBC Correspondent Jane Standley says many black South Africans will see the court decision as Mr Botha's ultimate escape from any legal responsibility for human rights violations committed during his rule.

She says the magistrate who originally found him guilty of contempt was black, while the judges who overturned the conviction were white - a fact that will cause anger and debate in South Africa.

Juin 99 :

The people of South Africa have been braving long queues to vote in the country's second multi-racial elections, with the African National Congress on course for a massive majority.

One of the first to vote was outgoing President Nelson Mandela who said it was a "wonderful feeling" to cast his ballot for the second time.

In the sprawling townships of Soweto and Alexandra, near Johannesburg, people began lining up outside polling stations before dawn.
The BBC's Greg Barrow in Soweto: Queues began forming at sunrise
Many of them spoke of how they hoped a new government would bring them more jobs and better amenities such as electricity and water.

In one of the most keenly contested provinces - the Western Cape - voters flocked to polling stations. A boycott call by radical Islamic organisations seems to have gone unheeded.

Faced with long queues across the country, election officials announced that queues of voters will not be turned away if they have still not cast their ballots by the time polling stations are scheduled to close.
"Each and every one who is in the queue by 2100 will be allowed to cast his or her vote," said Independent Electoral Commission spokesman Greville Abraham.

Around 50 political parties are contesting the ballot with opinion polls suggesting the ANC will take around 60% of the vote.

Throughout the day voting has continued peacefully, with incidents of violence and intimidation of voters rare in stark contrast to the first fully democratic election day five years ago.
President Mandela: Voting is a "wonderful feeling"
Opposition parties have attempted to rally support to prevent the ruling party winning a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to alter the country's constitution.

The strength of the ANC is such that the main contest will be over who forms the next official opposition.

There will be no exit polls or computer projections, but most of the results are expected to be through by Thursday morning.
The newly-elected parliament will convene in Cape Town on 14 June to elect a president by a simple majority.

That is likely to be Thabo Mbeki, chosen successor of Mr Mandela - South Africa's first democratically-elected President.

Security fears
Jeremy Vine reports: "Cultural diversity presents many problems"
Voting appears to be generally peaceful, although police said two people had been killed and two wounded in separate incidents in KwaZulu-Natal.

More than 100,000 police officers and soldiers have been deployed at polling stations around the country to maintain security.
Police put security measures in place around a polling station
Thousands of electoral staff are in place in an attempt to minimise the chaotic scenes that were seen at polling stations in the 1994 elections.

Officials have been working hard to ensure every polling station receives its ballot papers.

But more than 1,000 polling-stations are not yet in contact with the results centre, and as many as four million people who have not registered could try to vote.

Pressure for change
Deputy President Thabo Mbeki: "The government has to be very hands on"
Even if he wins a landslide victory Mr Mbeki will be under intense political pressure to fulfil ANC promises of miillions of new jobs and homes.
Although there remains tremendous loyalty to the movement, which fought for black liberation and the end of apartheid, the party's popularity could be under threat if it fails to deliver the goods.

Juin 99 : ELECTION

The governing African National Congress has won a crushing victory in South Africa's elections - and is within a whisper of reaching a two-thirds majority.

 ANC   66%
 DP   10%
 IFP   8%
 NNP   7%
 UDM   3%
 Others   6%

With more than two-thirds of the vote counted, the ANC has almost achieved a big enough share of the vote to give it the power to change the constitution.
In his victory speech, ANC leader Thabo Mbeki said the party had won an overwhelming mandate and would govern "without arrogance and with a deep sense of responsibility".

"People have shown democracy is alive and well," he told cheering supporters in Pretoria.

In the race for second place, the Democratic Party looks likely to form the official opposition forcing the New National Party into fourth place.
Thabo Mbeki: "The people have given clear orders ..."
The Democratic Party has campaigned hard on a tough anti-crime agenda.

Although it has its roots in white liberal support, it now attracts disaffected right-wingers and middle class blacks weary of South Africa's rising tide of violence.

However the NNP - the former party of apartheid - looks set to hold on to its power base in the Western Cape.
And results indicate the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi are neck and neck in KwaZulu-Natal.

The election results so far show that at least 10 parties will be represented in the new 400 seat parliament.

Turnout was high - more than 80% - and many polling stations stayed open long after the official close of voting.
The BBC's Jane Standley: "Victory was never in doubt"
The election effectively signals the end of the Mandela era in South African politics - Thabo Mbeki, is now set to become President when the new parliament convenes on June 14.

ANC bomb scare

Celebrations by ANC supporters were cut short following a bomb scare at their election headquarters.

Revellers were forced to evacuate the building but continued to party outside in the car park.
President Mandela casts the second vote of his life
Despite long queues yesterday's voting passed off peacefully.

Incidents of violence and intimidation of voters were rare, in stark contrast to the election day five years ago when President Mandela was elected as the country's first black president.

The Independent Electoral Commission assured voters already in line before the official closing time that they would not be prevented from taking part.

In one case, voters broke into a polling station to cast their ballots after it was shut for the night.

The first result was announced as polling closed - with the ANC taking Robben Island, where President Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 years in prison.

Greg Barrow at the count: "Fascinating changes in the political landscape"
Scottish parliament speaker David Steel, who is leading an election observer team said: "I was here five years ago and the contrast is very clear, both in the preparation and the lack of violence and intimidation. There were ragged edges, but generally we are impressed."

More than 100,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed at polling stations around the country to maintain security.

Many voters spoke of how they hoped a new government would bring them more jobs and better amenities such as electricity and water.

Despite the ANC's landslide victory Mr Mbeki will be under intense political pressure to fulfil ANC promises of miillions of new jobs and homes.

Although there remains tremendous loyalty to the movement, which fought for black liberation and the end of apartheid, the party's popularity could be under threat if it fails to deliver the goods.


South Africa woke up to democracy just as the world was waking up to the Internet. In 1994, a new government took control of a country where many people still lacked electricity, let alone computers and modems.

But for South Africa's journalists, researchers and policy makers, the Web has quickly become a vital tool for sharing the ideas which have proliferated at a time of profound social change - and in a climate of free speech that was barely imaginable a decade ago.

The contenders

All the major parties - and most of the minor ones - contesting the 1999 elections have a Web presence where you can read up on their principles and promises:

African Christian Democratic Party
African National Congress
Afrikaner Eenheidsbeweging (Afrikaner Unity Movement)
Azanian People's Organisation
Democratic Party
Federal Alliance
Inkatha Freedom Party
New National Party
Pan Africanist Congress
United Democratic Movement
Vryheidsfront (Freedom Front)

Other political bodies not contesting the election include:

Congress of South African Trade Unions
Conservative Party
Herstigte Nasionale Party (Refounded National Party)
South African Communist Party
Vukuzenzele Sekusile Party

Mbeki and Mandela

Thabo Mbeki, the man most likely to be South Africa's next president, has so far maintained a modest public profile. You can find out more about him from the ANC's Thabo Mbeki profile, and from his official CV. Selected speeches and writings by Mr Mbeki also give an insight into his thinking.

But during this election, just as many eyes will be on the man who is leaving office - Nelson Mandela. The Long Walk to Freedom site offers extracts and photographs from Mr Mandela's autobiography.

The ANC's Mandela Page collects together writings by and about the great statesman. Mr Mandela's official CV provides a more concise overview of his life and achievements.

Running the election

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is charged with the not inconsiderable task of running the election without fear or favour.

But for official information about the elections, the Elections section of the South African Government site is more useful than the rather dry IEC offering.

The most comprehensive coverage of election-related matters is offered by the Electoral Institute of South Africa, an independent organisation.

The Government

A coherent and detailed introduction - from the government's point of view, of course - to how South Africa is governed can be found at South Africa Government Online .

It takes you to information on the system of government, and the full text of the South African constitution.

It also provides links to the websites of various government departments and to the South African Parliament .

The media

The ever-popular Sunday Times offers big national stories each weekend, and is also publishing an Election Page.

The Star provides a comprehensive daily round-up of national news.

The Mail & Guardian offers a dose of exposé and political analysis every Friday - the rest of the week, it provides a constantly-updated news service on South Africa and its neighbours, as well as an excellent collection of Internet links on South Africa and the rest of the continent. The M&G is also running a Vote 99 special report.

The sober Business Day is the best source for South African financial news, and also offers an Elections Page. is another source of general news linked to the Naspers newspaper empire, which also offers its own Elections Page .

For a focus on the volatile province of KwaZulu-Natal, try the Natal Witness, a long-established independent newspaper now on the Web.

And the Institute for Democracy in South Africa is conducting a series of opinion polls and publishing the results on its Opinion '99 Web site.

The bigger picture

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission last year published the results of its inquiry into South Africa's shady past - its investigations continue, as does its presence on the Web.

Idasa is a research organisation which acts as a watchdog to South Africa's young democracy. The most useful part of Idasa's site is the Newsletters section, which contains the results of research into policy and performance by all levels of government.

The Sangonet (South African Non-Governmental Organisation Network) homepage provides links to organisations working in development, human rights, women's issues, culture, environmental issues - just about anything that NGOs do.

A section of the government site provides a brief but comprehensive overview of the history and culture of the country and its regions.

Crime and violence

South Africa's staggering crime rate is an ongoing cause for concern, and the South African Crime Research Guide is a good jumping-off point for information on the issue.

South African Communities Organising for Public Safety has links to community anti-crime initiatives, while the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, based at the University of the Witwatersrand, offers a selection of academic research papers on criminal and other violence.


The continuing inequalities of the education system are likely to dog future governments. For a blackboard-level view, you can't do much better than The Teacher - a lively and independent monthly journal.

Resources on South African Higher Education pulls together research on university and technical college education.

Last laugh

Years of hard-line government followed by an almost surreal rate of socio-political transformation have convinced many South Africans that a sense of humour is the best survival tool.

The last decade of apartheid was lampooned by Evita Bezuidenhout - the larger-than-life creation of satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys. Mrs Bezuidenhout has caught up with the times by launching Evita's People's Party, which recently toured the country persuading people to register to vote.

The hopes and fears of the 1990s have been documented through the eyes of Madam and Eve, in the comic strip of the same name. Madam is a do-gooder white suburban housewife, Eve her domestic-with-attitude - and their Everywoman take on current events has earned them a huge following.


Like an anointed prince, Thabo Mbeki has waited quietly in the corridors of power, taking control of the day-to-day running of government while Nelson Mandela has enjoyed the twilight of his political career.

Greg Barrow reports on the Mbeki succession
At 56, Mbeki is still a relatively young man. His appointment as president-elect ruffled some feathers among ANC veterans in the cabinet who felt that their role in the struggle against apartheid had not been recognised.

But political insiders say few should have been surprised at the dramatic rise of this man who will carry the ANC into the 21st century.

Humble origins

Like Mandela, Mbeki was born in the Transkei, one of the most rural and under-developed regions of South Africa.
But Mbeki came from more lowly beginnings. His mother and father were both schoolteachers, and committed communists.

In later years, his father, Govan Mbeki was rarely at home, expending most of his energy in promoting the cause of communism, and the ANC.

Ultimately, Govan's appetite for the liberation struggle would lead to his imprisonment for almost three decades on Robben Island, with his fellow freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela.
Little is known of Mbeki's childhood. He was packed off to boarding school at an early age, returning briefly to his home village at the age of 16 when he fell in love with a daughter of the local headmaster.

She became pregnant and gave birth to an illegitimate son, Kwanda, causing no small amount of scurrilous gossip in the tiny rural community.

The relationship between Mbeki and his childhood sweetheart did not endure.

His son Kwanda disappeared while attempting to leave South Africa in 1970, and is widely believed to have been killed by the apartheid security forces.

Years in exile

In 1962, Mbeki left South Africa illegally to enrol at Sussex University in Britain.

It was the beginning of an extended exile which took him all over the world.

Thabo Mbeki: "I am an African ..."
After his years of study were over, he spent time in Moscow training to be a guerrilla fighter. He then went on to represent the ANC in a number of African countries, ending up in Lusaka in Zambia where the ANC's headquarters in exile were based.

Oliver Tambo: A father figure
It was here that Mbeki cemented his relationship with the party president, Oliver Tambo, the man who was to become more of a father figure in his life than Govan had ever been.

Tambo, who led the struggle for the ANC in exile had identified leadership qualities in Mbeki from an early age, and there are many within the ANC who believe that the young Mbeki was marked for the highest political post in the party, decades before apartheid was banished from South Africa.

Jane Standley talking to Thabo Mbeki
When the apartheid government finally lifted the ban on the ANC in 1990, some political observers were surprised to see Thabo Mbeki taking a back seat to the charismatic former leader of the Miners' Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, who led the team negotiating over the shape of South Africa's first multi-racial government.

In reality, Mbeki was probably confident of his support base, and merely waiting in the wings to ascend to the position of deputy president beneath Mandela.

He was proved right when Mandela's first cabinet was announced with no position for Ramaphosa.

Arch manipulator?

The political jockeying behind the scenes that have accompanied Mbeki's rise to prominence have prompted speculation that he is an arch manipulator, a macchiavellian individual who will stop at nothing to ensure the consolidation of political power around him.

Cyril Ramaphosa: Left out of Mandela's first cabinet
As one senior ANC official once put it, "You don't know that Thabo has stabbed you in the back until you feel the blade against your sternum."

Although Mbeki is yet to name his post-election cabinet, it is widely expected to include many of those who worked with him during his years in exile.

This will be one of the most identifiable breaks from President Mandela's government which was characterised by men who had spent time in jail during the apartheid era.

Ideas man

Colleagues describe Mbeki as an "ideas man" and a consummate politician. Where Mandela devoted much of his energy towards achieving national reconciliation in a racially divided country, Mbeki is expected to concentrate more on raising living standards for the majority black population.

A former member of the South African Communist Party, he is well aware of the social need of the black majority.

But within government he has chosen to champion a policy of free-market economics aimed at attracting foreign investment.

It is a strategy that has led Mbeki into awkward confrontation with his former colleagues in the Communist Party and trade unions.
Opposition parties fear that if the ANC gains a large majority in this year's elections there will be a potential for the party to take on dictatorial tendencies with Mbeki the man most likely to benefit from an increase in political power.

Some have even described him as similar in style to Robert Mugabe, the authoritarian president of neighbouring Zimbabwe.

But even the least charitable critics admit that Mbeki is far too intelligent to allow power to go to his head.

Hard act to follow

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Mbeki is his ability to pick up where Mandela has left off.

He will be following in the footsteps of a man who has become an icon of the 20th century, and he is well aware of the extent to which the "Mandela Magic" will be missed after the elections.

Mbeki is notoriously sensitive about questions regarding his ability to succeed Mandela, but he has on occasion found the humour to parry the inevitable questions about his ability to fill Mandela's shoes.

"I don't imagine there's any such requirement," he said to reporters in 1997, " Anyway, he's got very big feet, and I don't think I could grow taller or wear strange shirts."


In his five years as president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela has wooed and won over a divided nation, and charmed the world, with a style that is often referred to as the "Madiba magic".

Madiba is Mandela's traditional clan nick-name. The magic he deploys; compassion, humour, political shrewdness, and a complete absence of bitterness about the 27 years he was imprisoned by the apartheid regime.

South Africans across the political and racial divide have come to see in him the symbol of everything they ever hoped for in a leader; an elder statesman of intellect, sincerity and immense moral stature who has delivered them from their darkest hour.

If there are criticisms, then it is of his political office, but never of Mandela the person, whose personal quest to promote reconciliation has probably achieved more than any government policy over the past five years.

Alan Little explores 'The Triumph of Nelson Mandela' in BBC Radio 4's hour long documentary, 4 May 1999
President Mandela's single greatest quality is his ability to reach out and touch the lives of ordinary people, and sometimes transform them.

The stories of his personal intervention are legion. In April 1998, a white farmer shot and killed a black child, Angeline Zwane, traversing his property.

His imprisonment rocked the world
He claimed it was an accident, but the incident greatly heightened racial tensions in the area. President Mandela made a personal visit to the family of the dead child to offer them comfort and support.

What was not widely reported is that the same day, the president took a helicopter to the home of a 12-year-old white Afrikaans child, Michelle Smit, who was suffering from leukaemia.

It had come to the ears of the president that it was her dream to meet him.

In a busy schedule, he made time to grant her dying wish, without the attendant public fanfare.

Path to peace

When the first democratic elections were held in 1994, and the ANC swept to power, the 75-year-old Mandela initially turned down the presidency, saying he was "too old" for the post, and it should be left to a younger person.

In the event, it is doubtful the country could have progressed as fast, and as far, without him.

President Mandela has been central to the so-called miracle of a peaceful transition to democratic rule.

Prior to the 1994 elections, South Africa teetered on the edge of civil war.

While white right-wingers threatened bloody revolution, continuing political clashes between supporters of the ANC and the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party threatened to turn parts of South Africa into a wasteland.

The new ANC-led government inherited a country in economic decline, fractured into numerous administrative bureaucracies fraught with corruption and racial divisions.

Newly-appointed ministers were untested and inexperienced in governance.

Although the ANC is a party with a long tradition of consensual collective decision-making, President Mandela frequently took matters into his own hands as the quickest means to an end, demonstrating an authoritarian, disciplinary streak which stands in stark contrast to his public persona.

The steel which lies beneath the fatherly image of the genial and benign leader is seldom unsheathed, but there are many politicians and ANC members who have felt its sharp edge.

Former president and and fellow Nobel peace prize winner FW de Klerk experienced the steel in public when Mandela tongue-lashed him during a televised debate during the tense negotiations leading up to the 1994 elections.

Casting his vote in national elections in 1994
De Klerk had touched the tiger in Mandela, and the country witnessed what lay in store as the president-in-waiting demolished his political opponent.

Loyalty is also paramount in the lexicon of the president.

It is often said he will forgive almost any misdemeanour, except disloyalty to the ANC. General Bantu Holomisa, a former ANC cabinet minister whom Mandela once treated as a son, felt the full force of Madiba's wrath when he implied the ANC had received generous donations from dubious sources.

He was expelled after refusing to recant.

In the early years as head of state, President Mandela became so closely identified with the fortunes of the new government that an ill-advised utterance could send the rand spiralling into a decline - which it did, on several occasions.

But the president also used his celebrity status to urge foreign investors to put their money where their promises were.

He convinced local white businessmen that direct action - building schools and community centres in impoverished communities - would be of far greater value than sniping from the sidelines.

Sections of South Africa's black community have criticised Mandela for "pandering" to whites, and for concentrating too much on foreign affairs rather than domestic problems like crime and job creation.

Stubborn and uncompromising

In his dealings in the international arena, President Mandela initially demonstrated his naivete in his belief that by taking a firm moral stance on issues, one would win over instant support.

Even the US President has felt Mr Mandela's criticism
In the case of the execution of opposition leader Ken Saro-Wiwa by the Nigerian military government, Mr Mandela went out on a limb at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in 1995, and pressured the Commonwealth to suspend Nigeria from the club.

Mr Mandela also does not like being told what to do.

During President Clinton's visit to Africa last year, Mr Mandela, visibly irritated that the Americans were unhappy over South Africa's close relationship with Libya, told Clinton to go and "jump in a swimming pool" and insisted that South Africa would be friends with whomsoever it pleased.

Controversial ex-wife

The president's personal life over the past few years has been turbulent.
His commitment to his second wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was sorely tested during her trial for involvement in the abduction and murder of a young teenage activist Stompie Moeketsi Seipei.

Nelson Mandela stayed loyally by the side of his controversial wife then, but the marriage could not sustain the strain of political pressures and the long years of separation.

He chose to make a personal appearance in court during his divorce from Winnie in 1995.

Mr Mandela told the world that while he had no wish to "wash my dirty linen in public", he had been the "loneliest man" in the time he spent with Winnie after his release from prison.

He said his time with ex-wife Winnie was "lonely"
The pain was clearly evident when he revealed details of his ex-wife's brazenly adulterous affair with a young lawyer, which Winnie continued after Mr Mandela moved back into the family home. He left in 1992.

The president cut a lonely figure on the world stage for several years, until, during an official banquet in France in 1996, he spoke long and glowingly about the sunshine along the Champs-Elysees.

The cause was a new-found love, Graca Machel, the widow of former Mozambican president Samora Machel.

In subsequent interviews the president confessed that he never thought it possible he could " fall in love and feel like this" ever again.

Although Graca had proclaimed she would never re-marry, the couple came under considerable pressure to tie the knot, from, among others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In July last year the president sprung a surprise on the nation, and some members of his own family, when he celebrated his 80th birthday by getting married, for the 3rd time.

Craves obscurity

At a recent breakfast to bid farewell to the media, President Mandela openly admitted that for some time now he has been a ceremonial president.

His deputy and president-elect Thabo Mbeki has been the de facto president of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela married Graca Machel on his 80th birthday
"I welcome the possibility of revelling in obscurity" Mandela told journalists to amused laughter, adding that he'd like to retire, to spend at least some of his time, in his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

A more likely role is that of elder statesman who will be called upon to mediate in some of the more intractable problems plaguing the international community.

In spite of rampant crime, and the loss of 500,000 jobs since 1994, after 5 years at the helm of government, President Mandela can and does claim, with justification, that his government has achieved what no government before has achieved - bringing together all the people of South Africa.

"We have confounded the prophets of doom. We have become a miracle nation."


Education was where it all started. When schoolchildren took to the streets of Soweto in 1976 to protest against the inequalities of apartheid schooling, it marked the beginning of a new phase of resistance which culminated in South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994.

But as the country approaches a second election, teachers are frustrated with the lack of change, despite the ANC government's vision of a decent standard of education for all South Africans.

"Five years ago, many of us were starry-eyed at the new education system we were promised," said last month's editorial in the monthly journal The Teacher.

"How great it would be if we lived in a world where promises were kept."

Some argue that the overall standard of education has actually got worse in the last five years.

Although all South African schools are officially non-racial, a recent report by the Human Rights Commission concluded that "racism in South African schools is flourishing".

Dr Trevor Coombe, a senior official in the Department of Education, maintains that the government never promised any quick fixes.

"There was a clear recognition that the transformation of the system was the work of decades," he says.

Long haul

And there is no denying the size of the task faced by the new administration in trying to bridge the gulf between education standards in white and black schools.

Education in the old South Africa was governed by a complex ethnically-based bureaucracy, whose legacy remains in the form of corruption and inefficiency.

Money which could be spent on classrooms or books is in some areas paid in salaries to "ghost" teachers and civil servants, who remain on the payroll despite not having turned up for work in years.

New discrimination

Racial discrimination is being replaced by social class discrimination, critics of the present system argue.

The education act passed by the new government gives a large degree of autonomy to state schools.

Educationalists say segregation still happens in practice
School committees elected by the community can set school fees and raise additional money to top up the state funding.

Autonomy may sound like a good thing, but critics argue that it helps to perpetuate inequalities.

A school committee made up of affluent professionals is much better able to raise funds and govern the school than a committee of poor parents who may themselves be inadequately educated.

While the law exempts the poorest parents from paying school fees, parents sending their children to middle-class schools are faced with extra costs, like expensive uniforms and school outings.

In short, the schools with the best facilities cost the most - and only those black pupils who come from relatively wealthy homes are likely to secure a place.

Racism remains

But black children who do make it to a formerly white school face a new set of problems.

Teaching standards are often poor
In small towns where most of the white people speak Afrikaans, schools have set up separate English-medium classes, which end up being mostly black.

Even where classes are racially mixed, black pupils may face racism - whether overt or subtle - from a school establishment which remains predominantly white.

And since the vast majority of South Africans are black, it is clear that even if all the formerly white schools could be purged of racism, this would still not meet everybody's educational needs.

Funding problems

South Africa needs more classrooms and better-trained teachers - and that costs money.

Global financial pressures have forced the government to shelve its Reconstruction and Development Programme - a grand plan for social spending - in favour of a more conservative approach.

Classrooms need repairing
Some analysts see this financial restraint as being directly responsible for the slow rate of change in South African schools.

"The education policy may be very progressive, but the redress is just not happening," says Salim Vally, a reseacher at the University of the Witwatersrand's Education Policy Unit.

"It's not just a question of throwing money around - but you can't deny that resources in schools are a problem," he adds.

Dr Coombe says that while the government has aimed to maintain its social spending levels, the amount of money spent on each pupil has declined, as the school system has grown.

He adds that the government may have to consider raising its per-pupil spending, "in order to avoid the suffocation of the system".

Policy advances

Much of the government's efforts of the past five years have been in shaping new policies and new structures - efforts which may not be immediately apparent to teachers and pupils in overcrowded, underfunded schools.

"It was imperative that we attack the inherited apartheid system root and branch," Dr Coombe argues.

Much of the criticism of the government's performance so far has been directed - rightly or wrongly - at Education Minister Sibusiso Bengu, who is due to step down after the elections.

Philippa Garson, editor of The Teacher, agrees that Dr Bengu's term of office was concerned primarily with creating new policy, but says his successor must be the one who oversees tangible improvements in education.

"There is no excuse now for not delivering," she says


Even if the results seem a foregone conclusion, the state and future of the South African economy has been one of the major issues in the election campaign.

The ANC says it has succeeded in handling the transition to a fairer system, but its supporters hope for even more transformation and a reduction in income disparity.

The opposition argue that the government has presided over a stagnant economy, in which thousands of jobs have been lost, growth has been negligible and rigid policies have proven inappropriate in the face of South Africa's structural problems.

The reality, as always in South Africa, is somewhere in between.

The ANC government has delivered in terms of improving basic services, such as building houses and providing electricity and water to the majority of the population.

And their efforts in maintaining the country's standing in international financial markets were made during a period when crises swept Asia, Russia and South America.

Economy into Gear

Jane Standley in Johannesburg: The poor cannot live on hope alone
South Africa's financial credibility has been closely linked to its economic reform programme, Gear - standing for Growth, Employment and Redistribution.

ANC president Thabo Mbeki is one of the architects of the strategy, which foresees increased revenue along with responsible expenditure as a way to reduce the government deficit.

In this respect, Gear is beginning to work. The 1999 budget deficit is estimated to be only 3% of GDP, in line with IMF targets.

But detractors say Gear has failed to deliver on three crucial target areas.

Critics say the government has focused on traditional monetary policy instruments, which contributed to weak growth performance over the past few years.


Despite criticism of the strategy, Mr Mbeki will continue with Gear.

With his hand-picked economics team now in place at the Ministry of Finance and the South African Reserve Bank, the government will brook little opposition to its declared path.

Post-elections, the first item for consideration will undoubtedly be employment.

A special job summit last year emphasised the huge task ahead of the government.

The economy has shed around 400,000 jobs in the formal sector in the past four years. Some critics have even put the losses at twice that level.


Predictably, mainly white opposition parties and businesses unhappy in complying with affirmative action labour legislation are the main ciritcs of government policy.

And there is also opposition to the Gear strategy from one of the ANC's allies in the government coalition - the 1.8m member Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

COSATU and other labour groups fear that the government's insistence on targeting inflation and monetary targets led to, and will continue to hamper wage settlements.

Business argues that wage demands in turn lead to layoffs and redundancies as South Africa attempts to compete in international markets.

All agree that the only way forward will be to improve the growth prospects for the economy.

With population growth in South Africa at least 2% per annum, sluggish real GDP growth in 1997 and 1998, and the depreciation of the rand, real GDP per head has declined by almost $600 since 1995.

Despite the government's commitment to a higher growth path, South African GDP has been constrained by a number of factors over the past two years.

Problems have included the downturn of the business cycle, the El Niño weather phenomenon, a bottoming out of world commodity prices and the after-effects of the East Asian crisis.

The economy, which is presently mired in recession is expected to recover starting from the second half of this year, and real growth of 3% is not inconceivable for 2000.

The government itself concedes that 4-5% growth is needed in the medium term to begin to increase incomes for all members of South Africa's population.

Just where that growth will come from remains to be seen.

Export market

South Africa's economy still remains highly dependent on the fortunes of its exports.

Gold, which typically makes up a quarter of exports, is in for a difficult period over the next few years, as central banks dispose of built-up stocks and prices remain depressed.

Other exports, which have been severely constrained by the slowdown in the world economy will begin to recover in 1999 and 2000, particularly as the lower value of the exchange rate will make manufactured exports more competitive.

Potential for growth

South Africa's economy is by far the largest in sub-Saharan Africa in both size and complexity. It is often seen as a potential engine for growth in the region.

Certainly in recent years South African goods have penetrated many markets, particularly in southern Africa, but its neighbours claim that South Africa has not responded with matching trade concessions for their exports.

The recent signing of a South Africa-EU trade deal will mean further worries for its African neighbours, who fear even further trade diversification.

The fate of the South African economy, and by extension, many of the countries which border South Africa will depend on the successful and peaceful conclusion of the elections.

Once the ANC wins its expected majority the hard work will begin in earnest.

Mr Mbeki will have to deliver on specific macroeconomic targets to assuage financial markets, while at the same time trying to transform the economy to satisfy his electorate.

The delicate balancing act which the ANC has attempted so far will continue, and Mbeki is fortunate in the timing of the recovery of both commodity prices and the business cycle.

The transition period is coming to an end and the challenges for South Africa are both numerous and formidable.

As Mr Mbeki is fond of saying, "It's time to get to work".


He may be short on charisma, may have nothing like the pull of the remarkable Nelson Mandela; he may be diffident in public, unknown to the wider world - but this week Thabo Mbeki became a winner.

Not just a winner. The outcome of the South African election was more like a triumph, with Mr Mbeki turned in a day from softly-spoken deputy into conqueror.

The ANC's vote is currently hovering around the symbolically important two thirds mark. Breaking through 66.7% will drive home just how spectacular this election success has been.

Nelson Mandela's aura has papered over the cracks
Banned in the years of apartheid, then elected in this country's first democratic poll in 1994 with Nelson Mandela at its helm, the ANC has shown it retains the confidence of the 85% majority of this country - black South Africans, many of whom are still waiting, and desperately hoping, for their lives to turn around.

Official statistics say around nine million earn less than a dollar a day. On average, a black worker earns only one-tenth of the salary of the average white; black unemployment is put unofficially at 50%, and thousands live in shacks waiting for the ANC to deliver on its promise to build a million new homes.

Yet still the votes came in, from polling stations around the country, flashing up on a massive electronic scoreboard in Pretoria and confirming the extraordinary grip the party has on its people.

The explanations vary. Talking to ordinary black South Africans, you often pick up an almost otherworldly patience with the government - yes, they say, things are bad: "But the ANC has built some new homes, installed standpipes and power lines, maybe not where I live, but soon it will be my turn."

A bullet-proof party

Then there is the magic of Nelson Mandela. His aura, as captivating in his own country as it is in other people's, has papered over the cracks. Corruption in national and provincial government, sky-rocketing crime, and above all, the grinding poverty - they all seem to become less important when Mr Mandela is asked about them. His saintly status has bullet-proofed his party.

Tony Leon's Democratic Party have emerged from the pack as the second largest party
The opposition has much to answer for too. Most of the ANC's rivals have failed even to try to reach out to the black population.

The Democratic Party, which has seen its vote leap from less than 2% in 1994 to nearly 10% as things stand now, chose the campaign slogan "Fight Back". The unspoken theme was it would sink its teeth into the black government on behalf of white voters.

The New National Party (descended from the old National Party, which enforced white minority rule) has fallen into a hole in the ground in this election. In 1994 it captured a fifth of the votes - now it has under 7%, so may get less than 30 seats in the 400-strong parliament. Shorn of its status as official opposition, it looks to be on the critical list, with the NNP's schoolboyish leader Martinus Van Schalkwek lampooned as "shortpants".

Two-thirds 'scaremongering'

Of course the big questions now do not relate to opposition politics, but to government. With 75% of the vote, the ANC would have been able to rewrite the South African constitution; with two-thirds, the party could change chunks of it.

It claims to have no plans to - belatedly, during the campaign, Thabo Mbeki made that clear - but the other parties have raised all kinds of worrying possibilities: that the ANC wants to dispense with judges, will water down constitutional rights to own property, shift power dramatically from provincial to national government, tamper with the independence of the Central Bank, and so on.

"It's a worst case scenario," Tony Leon, leader of the Democratic Party, told me after election day, which sounded like acknowledgement that an element of scaremongering had gone into the claims.

But there are concerns nonetheless: with so much support, the ANC can do what it likes. It will be accountable to the electors again in five years' time, but between now and then it can govern with cotton wool in its ears.

Or can it? Thabo Mbeki has promised to "accelerate change" and "end lives of poverty", pledges which sound like they need to be made accompanied by the theme tune from Mission Impossible.

The incoming president has set a high standard for himself, and the scale of the ANC's victory suggests some of its support could be flaky. The party's only fear must be that one day, with Mr Mandela gone, the patience of its long-suffering supporters finally gives out.

JUIN 99 :

Riding on a massive election
 victory, the African National Congress could emerge today with a
 two-thirds majority in parliament, giving it the power to amend
 South Africa's constitution.
     That possibility alarms opposition parties _ particularly mostly
 white ones. But the successor to Nelson Mandela, ANC President
 Thabo Mbeki, sought to reach out to whites in his victory speech.
     ``The ANC will approach the exercise of power without any
 arrogance, with humility, with a deep sense of responsibility, to
 ensure ... we act together to build a South Africa that truly
 belongs to all who live in it, both black and white,'' Mbeki said
 at Thursday's rally.
     After ANC's re-election in the country's second post-apartheid
 vote, Mbeki takes over the presidency on June 16 from Mandela, who
 was away on holiday, letting his protege shine in the spotlight.
     With 94 percent of polling stations reporting results of
 Wednesday's elections, the ANC had 66.34 percent of the national
 vote. The Democratic Party was second with 9.77 percent, the
 Zulu-nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party had 8.26 percent and the New
 National Party was losing its status as the biggest opposition
 party with only 7.03 percent.
     Seats for the 400-seat parliament are allocated by a complex
 formula, taking into account voting on the national and provincial
 levels, and it was not yet clear if the ANC had won two-thirds,
 said Howard Sackstein, a spokesman for the Independent Electoral
     ``It will be very close,'' he said.
     More than 84 percent of the country's 18.2 million registered
 voters cast ballots.
     Mainly white opposition parties raised the specter that the new
 ANC government would be tempted to tamper with the constitution for
 authoritarian ends, a charge the ANC has steadfastly denied.
     The biggest winner in Wednesday's vote was South African
 democracy itself. In only the second democratic elections _
 previously under apartheid, blacks were denied the vote _ millions
 of South Africans patiently waited in lines for hours, even in
 areas that five years ago were wracked by violence.
     International observers hailed the election's freeness and
     The vote was conducted in an ``exemplary manner and meets
 international standards,'' said Jan Nico Scholten of the
 Netherlands, head of a 40-member mission of the European


OUT of a population of 180-million in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), only one in 10 has a job in the formal sector and only about 20% of the economically active population have jobs, a Norwegian researcher, Liv Tørres, has established.
This gives an unemployment rate of nearly 80% in the SADC countries, excluding Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Seychelles - and would be even higher if those countries were included.

Tørres also found that only about 40% of those in formal sector employment are organised. Those without formal sector jobs are "unemployed or struggle to find means of survival in the informal sector of subsistence farming.

"To have a job or not has become a 'to be or not to be'‚ in countries with few, or no, safety nets," she says. "At the same time, a large portion of those within the formal sector labour market earn less than poverty wages. Child labour, HIV, labour migration, low skills levels, tenant labour systems and poverty within the labour market pose further political and economic challenges for the SADC countries and for regional integration."

Tørres reaches these conclusions in a study called Labour Markets in Southern Africa, which has been published by the Oslo-based Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science.

She says the poverty development trend in Southern Africa has to be reversed and economic growth is without doubt the most powerful weapon in the fight for higher living standards.

"Yet, as important for poverty eradication as well as economic development, although often underestimated, is the distribution of income and wealth.

"The benefits of growth for the poor may be eroded if the distribution of income worsens, which might also undermine the incentives for growth-inducing economic reforms."

Southern Africa is challenged by a lack of growth in the formal sector, huge wealth disparities and labour market segmentation reinforcing the social cleavages in society at large. Large majorities are employed in subsistence farming in the rural areas and in informal activities in the urban areas.

However, she warns that the level of existing statistics and updated information about Southern Africa is very poor and this has to be improved to be able to make informed policy decisions.

"Southern Africa needs to exit from the circle of low-paid labour, unemployment/informal/subsistence sector survival strategies and low education and skills levels.

"Lack of education and low skills levels are hereditary; illiterates are thrown into survival strategies, which neither build further skills levels for themselves nor for their children.

"In order to exit from these bad circles, regional strategies are needed, but future regional strategies that are based on informed knowledge about the characteristics, sector and occupational composition, skills levels, and migration patterns of the current labour markets. A regional information and resource centre is long overdue."

Tørres says the economic problems of Southern Africa can to some extent be attributed to the fact that the countries in the region have been locked into roles as exporters of either raw materials or crops.

These countries have inherited from colonial times a low-skilled workforce and extremely divided labour markets in which highly paid skills and resources have to be imported from outside. Several of these countries have also inherited, developed or got stuck in "enclave economics"‚ in which they remain fully dependent upon the production and export of raw materials and/or raw crops.

Southern Africa became increasingly marginalised in the world economy through the 1970s and 1980s, and the economies of the region became progressively under greater control of and dependent upon the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and their structural adjustment programmes. By the mid-1990s, the region's debt was estimated at between $150-billion and $180-billion - between R9 000-billion and R12 000-billion.

The overall growth rate for the African continent stood at 3,7% in 1995, up from 1,9% in 1994, and during the 1990s, three Southern African countries have exceeded 8%, namely Lesotho, Mauritius and Uganda.

However, poverty rates in sub-Saharan Africa are increasing. Greater poverty as well as Aids and unrest have also contributed to the worsening of human development indicators. Already 44% of Mozambicans, 38% of Malawians and 39% of Angolans do not expect to see the age of 40.

In the SADC countries, excluding Angola, Congo and the Seychelles, the economically active population stands at 50 7272 610 but only 11 104 405 have formal employment.

Agriculture is clearly the most important sector of employment as well as the most important contributor to the gross domestic product, with 70% to 75% of employment in Southern Africa being in agriculture.

Tørres also says that since independence, the size and scope of governments in Southern Africa have expanded enormously. The public sector continues to increase and in some countries, such as Botswana, more rapidly than private sector employment.

An urgent priority is to rebuild state effectiveness through an overhaul of public institutions, a reassertion of the rule of law and credible checks on the abuse of state power.

There are also an estimated 16-million children between 10 and 14 working in sub-Saharan Africa. Most countries do not have data on the number of child labourers but sectoral studies indicate that the number is high.

Tørres concluded that for many millions of people in Southern Africa, the lessons of unemployment are carried over into daily struggles for survival.

"The future of democracy depends upon economic growth and the distribution of income and wealth, which is generated by the labour market. The future of democracy depends upon the degree to which labour market institutions manage to create and enforce legitimacy for the democratic institutions, to moderate economic expectations and to build a co-operative rather than a confrontational approach towards the government," she says.

Juillet 99 :

The ruling African National Congress has romped to victory in South Africa's second democratic election, taking 266 seats in the 400-seat National Assembly.
The final results of last Wednesday's general election leave the ANC just one seat short of its stated goal of a two-thirds majority - which would have given it the power to change elements of the constitution if it so desired.

Brigalia Bam, head of the Independent Electoral Commission, read out the final results to the heads of political parties after the count had been plagued by delayed reporting and mistakes in calculations.

The ANC has increased its representation by 14 seats.

The Democratic Party boosted its representation by an impressive 31 seats after only having seven MPs in the previous parliament.

The result makes the Democratic Party the official opposition in parliament.

Their result contrasts sharply with the fall from grace of the former ruling party, the New National Party, which lost 54 seats to leave itself with only 28 MPs.

A total of 13 parties have seats in the new parliament.

President Mandela's chosen successor, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki said afterwards: "Some parties had great ambitions to have two-thirds and so on, and the people have taken the decision.

"The centre has held in favour of democracy."

In the provinces, the ANC won a slight majority in the Western Cape over the New National Party. It remains uncertain whether the province will be governed by an ANC or National Party-led coalition.

Greg Barrow in Johannesburg: The Democratic party have done well at the expense of the old party of apartheid
A coalition also appears likely in KwaZulu-Natal after the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party came out just ahead of the ANC.

The ruling ANC retains control of the other seven provinces.

South African financial markets strengthened on Monday after it became clear that the ANC would fall just short of the two-thirds majority.

Election blunder

As concern grows over the way the count was handled, a number of South African opposition parties have said they are launching an independent review of the election results.

Greg Barrow in Johannesburg: Opposition parties still wait on tenterhooks
A computer company hired by eight parties has been sifting through the results from 14,650 polling stations.

The move followed a typing error by the Electoral Commission that resulted in extra votes being awarded to the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

The error raised doubts about whether the Inkatha Freedom Party finished in second place, ahead of the mainly-white Democratic Party.

Nelson Mandela had phoned Inkatha's leader, Mangosutho Buthelezi, to congratulate him when the Inkatha gain was announced. Minutes later, Chief Buthelezi took a second call - from election officials telling him there had been an error, putting his party into third spot.

A spokesman for Inkatha expressed outrage and said they had been made to look like fools.

Smooth transition expected

At a victory rally, President-elect Thabo Mbeki called on ANC supporters and opponents to work together for the good of South Africa.

He said: "The ANC will approach the exercise of power without any arrogance, with humility, with a deep sense of responsibility, to ensure ... we act together to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it, both black and white."

President Mandela will step down at Mr Mbeki's expected inauguration on 16 June.

The changeover is widely expected to be smooth because Mr Mbeki, 56, has been running day-to-day government affairs for the past two years.


South Africa's parliament has elected Thabo Mbeki to succeed President Nelson Mandela, who formally retires on Wednesday.

Mr Mbeki - the African National Congress (ANC) leader and Mr Mandela's deputy for the last five years - will be sworn in on Wednesday at a ceremony in Pretoria featuring African and world leaders.

Thabo Mbeki: "Our legislature, executive and judiciary affirm the integrity of our democratic state"
In a speech to mark his election at the National Assembly in Cape Town, Mr Mbeki paid tribute to the people who had given the ANC its overwhelming victory in South Africa's elections.

"If all of us stand tall today," he said, "it is only because we are borne aloft by the firm hands of the ordinary people of our country."

The speech was sombre and businesslike, without the colourful quotations and proverbs so often used by Mr Mbeki in his remarks.
Terror Lekota enjoying the occasion
"I am aware that the millions of our people expect that we will move faster in pursuit of the goal of a better life for all," he said, referring to the poverty and racial divisions that still affect South African life.

Earlier, South Africa's second democratically elected parliament since the end of apartheid was sworn in to office.

There was an air of excitement in the Assembly building as the new MPs arrived.
The BBC's Greg Barrow: "It was an emotionally charged parliamentary session"
Members of the ANC make up more than two-thirds of the 400 MPs.

Dressed in a variety of outfits - from saris to brightly coloured national dress to business suits - the MPs took the oath of office in groups of ten.

Standing in front of Constitutional Court chief judge Arthur Chaskalson, they swore allegiance to the South African constitution.

Mr Mbeki was among the first group to be sworn in.

Alongside him stood Jacob Zuma, deputy president of the ANC, and the Speaker of the House, Frene Ginwala.


I am most honoured indeed to welcome you all to our seat of government, as we carry out the solemn act of the inauguration of the President of the Republic.

I feel greatly privileged that so many of you could travel from all corners of the globe, from everywhere in Africa, and from all parts of our country to lend importance and dignity to this occasion.

"A tribute to our people"

That sense of privilege, which will stay with us for all time, is intensified by our recognition of the fact that never before have we as a people hosted this large a number of high-level delegations representing the peoples of the world.

We thank you most sincerely for your presence, which itself constitues a tribute to the millions of our people and a profound statement of hope that all of us will together continue to expand the frontiers of human dignity.

For us, as South Africans, this day is as much a day for the inauguration of the new government as it is a day of salute for a generation that pulled our country out of the abyss and placed it on the pedestal of hope, on which it rests today.

I speak of the generation represented pre-eminently by our out-going President, Nelson Mandela; the generation of Oliver Tambo, of Walter Sisulu, of Govan Mbeki, of Albertina Sisulu, of Ray Alexander and others.

Fortunately, some of these titans are present here today, as they should be.

None of us can peer into their hearts to learn what they feel as this infant democracy they brought into the world begins its sixth year of existence.

But this I can say, that we who are their offspring know that we owe to them much of what is humane, noble and beautiful in the thoughts and actions of our people as they strive to build a better world for themselves.

For thoughout their lives, they struggled against everything that was ugly, mean, brutish and degrading of the dignity of all human beings.

"I am my brother's keeper"

And because they did, being prepared to pay the supreme price to uphold good over evil, they planted a lergacy among our people which drives all of us constanty to return to the starting point and say "I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper".

And because we are one another's keepers, we surely must be haunted by the suffering which continues to afflict millions of our people.

Our nights cannot but be nights of nightmares while millions of our people live in conditions of degrading poverty.

Sleep cannot come easily when children get permanently disabled, both physically and mentally, because of lack of food.

"There can be no relaxation"

No night can be restful when millions have no jobs, and some are forced to beg, to rob and to murder to ensure that they and their own do not perish from hunger.

Our minds will continue the restless inquiry to find out how it is possible to have a surfeit of productive wealth in one part of our common globe and intolerable poverty levels elsewhere on that common globe.

There can be no moment of relaxation while the numbers of those affected by HIV-Aids continue to expand at an alarming pace.

Our days will remain forever haunted when frightening numbers of the women and children of our country fall victim to rape and other crimes of violence.

Nor can there be peace of mind when the citizens of our country feel they have neither safety nor security because of the terrible deeds of criminals and of their gangs.

Our days and our night will remain forever blemished as long as our people are torn apart and fractured into contending factions by reason of racial and gender inequalities which continue to characterise our society.

Neither can peace attend our souls as long as corruption continues to rob the poor of what is theirs and to corrode the value system which sets humanity apart from the rest of the animnal world.

The full meaning of liberation will not be realised until our people are freed both from oppression and from the dehumanising legacy of deprivation we inherited from our past.

"The dawning of the dawn"

What we did in 1994 was to begin the long journey towards the realisation of this goal.

When the millions of our people went to the polls 12 days ago, they mandated us to pursue that outcome.

Our country is in that period of time known as the "dawning of the dawn".

As the sun continues to rise, to banish the darkness of the long years of colonialism and aprtheid, what the new light of our land must show is an nation diligently at work to creats a bet life for itself.

What it must show is a palpable process of the comprehensive renewal of our country, its rebirth, driven by the enormoustalents of all our people, both black and white, and made possible by the knowledge and realisation that we share a common destiny, regardless of the shapes of our noses.

What we will have to see in the rising light is a government that is fully conscious of the fact that it has entered into a contract with the people, to work in partnership with them to build a winning nation.

In practical and mesaurable ways, we have to keep pace with the rising sun, progressing from despair to hope, away from a brutal past that forever seeks to drag us backards towards a new tomorrow that speaks of change in a forward direction.

History and circumstance have given us the rare possibility to achieve these objectives.

"No longer the children of the abyss"

To ensure that we transform the possibility to reality, we will have to nurture the spirit among our people which made it possible for many to describe the transition of 1994 as a miracle - the same spirit which, in many respects, turned this year's election campaign into a festival in celebration of democracy.

As Africans, we are the children of the abyss, who have sustained a backward march for half a millennium.

We have been a source for human slaves. Our countries were turned into the patrimony of colonial powers. We have been victim to our own African predators.

If this is not merely being the wish further to the thought, something in the air seems to suggest that we are emerging from the dreadful centuries which in the practice and the ideologies of some defined us as sub-humans.

As South Africans, whatever the difficulties, we are moving foward in the effort to combine ourselves into one nation of many colours, many cultures and diverse origins.

No longer capable of being falsely defined as a "European outpost in Africa", we are an African nation in the complex process simultaneously of formation and renewal.

And in that process, we will seek to educate both the young and ourselves about everything our forebears did to uphold the torch of freedom.

It is in that spirit that we are this year observing the centenary of the commencement of the Anglo-Boer War and the 120th anniversary of the Battle of Isandhlwana.

We will also work to rediscover and claim the African heritage, especially for the benefit of our young generation.

From South Africa to Ethiopia lie strewn ancient forces, which in their stillness speak still of the African origins of all humanity.

Recorded history and the material things that time left behind also speak of Africa's historic contribution to the universe of philosophy, the natural sciences, human settlements and organisation and the creative arts.

Being certain that not always we were the children of the abyss, we will do what we have to do to achieve our renaissance.

We trust that what we will do will not only better our own condition as a people, but will also make a contribution, however small, to the success of Africa's Renaissance, towards the identification of the century ahead as the African Century.

Twenty-three years ago this day, children died in Soweto, Johannesburg, in a youth uprising which democratic South Africa honours as our National Youth Day.

It must therefore be that those of us who have inherited the results of the sacrifices of the youth of 1976 must remain loyal to the objectives of freedom for which so many of our young people laid down their lives.

As we speak, both our own as well as international athletes are competing in our annual Comrades Marathon, which this year is dedicated to Nelson Mandela. Our best wishes go to all these, the long-distance runners of the marathon.

Those who complete the course will do so will only do so because they do not, as the fatigue sets in, convince themselvse that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear, and the prize itself of doubtful value.

We, too, as the people of South African and Africa, must together run our own Comrades Marathon, as comrades who are ready to take to the road together, refusing to be discouraged by the recognition that the road is very long, the inclines very steep, and that at times what we see as the end is but a mirage.

When the race is run, all humanity and ourselves will acknowledge the fact that we only succeeded because we succeeded to believe in our own dreams.


South African President Thabo Mbeki has named Jacob Zuma as his deputy - ending speculation that the job might go to Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The announcement came as Mr Mbeki named a cabinet dominated by his allies in the ANC - but which also includes IFP ministers, and leaves two key economic portfolios in the hands of the previous incumbents.

Mr Zuma, who is also deputy president of the ANC, is a party stalwart from KwaZulu-Natal - the province that forms the IFP's heartland.

Greg Barrow in Johannesburg: Key allies of the president have fared well
Mr Buthelezi is to keep his position as Minister of Home Affairs, to which he was appointed in 1994 by then-President Nelson Mandela.

Before the election, there was speculation that Mr Buthelezi would be named deputy president as part of a deal under which the IFP and the ANC would work together in KwaZulu-Natal.

The election left the IFP with a working majority in the province and reports say Mr Buthelezi was not prepared to allow the ANC to assume the premiership of KwaZulu-Natal in return for the deputy presidency.

The intended purpose of the ANC/IFP deal was to bring to an end years of bitter rivalry between the two parties in the Zulu-dominated province.

BBC Africa Correspondent Greg Barrow says the ANC has done its best to play down talk of a rift with the IFP.

No change at Finance

Nkosazana Zuma: Moves to Foreign Affairs
Trevor Manuel remains in the Finance Ministry, and Alec Erwin keeps the Trade and Industry portfolio. Both ministers have won the approval of business inside and outside South Africa.

A new ministry in the office of the president has been awarded to Essop Pahad, a long-standing Mbeki ally.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry goes to former Health Minister, Dr Nkosazana Zuma - the former wife of the new deputy president.

Education - a ministry which had drawn criticism for its failure to redress apartheid inequalities - has been handed over to Kader Asmal who, in his previous cabinet post, won acclaim for improving South Africans' access to running water.

But Housing - another ministry widely seen as having failed to deliver - remains in the hands of Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela failed to secure a cabinet post, despite adopting a high profile during the election campaign. There had been speculation that the announcement of the new cabinet would mark her return to government.

Juillet 99 :

Thousands of South African gold miners, protesting over job losses, have marched to the British embassy in Pretoria in protest at the Treasury's decision to auction off of its bullion reserves.

The protesters carried banners saying "England, don't kill gold" and "Not one more ounce" as they sang and danced through the streets.

Smelting in Johannesburg: "The place of gold"
The precious metal is close to people's hearts here - the economy was built on it and Johannesburg is even known locally as Egoli - the place of gold.

The mining industry refuses to accept Britain's view that the precious metal is losing its lustre as the main form of reserve for central banks - and that a broader base of currency holdings is preferable.

Protest letter

For South Africa it means massive potential job losses - and trade unions and employers have come together for the first time to try to stop the sales.

They organised the march to the British embassy - where a protest letter was being handed in - and were planning to go on to the Swiss mission - as they too are planning to sell gold.

80,000 jobs may be at risk
The International Monetary Fund is also planning to send some of its bullion to auction, to help fund a debt relief plan for developing countries.

The South Africans are trying to rally support worldwide - workers and bosses went this week to London - but did not manage to shift the Treasury's thinking.

Government ministers are seeking support from other African gold producers and from European central banks to stop the sales.

Miners are already being laid off from South Africa's mines - others have gone out on strike in anticipation at more redundancies.

The coalition of trade unionists and employers is talking of 80,000 potential job losses if the gold price stays at its current 20-year low.

Aout 99 :

South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has granted amnesty to a former law and order minister in the apartheid era, Adriaan Vlok.

Along with the former head of police, Johan van der Merwe, and fourteen other policemen, Mr Vlok was cleared over the bombing in 1988 of a church building which the security forces believed was being used as a base for anti-apartheid activists.

Mr Vlok -- the only former minister to have sought amnesty -- told the Truth Commission that the bombing had been ordered by the former President, P.W. Botha, something Mr Botha has denied. Mr Vlok, who still has other amnesty cases pending against him, said he was delighted by the success of his first appeal.


South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has granted amnesty to a former law and order minister in the apartheid era, Adriaan Vlok.

Along with the former head of police, Johan van der Merwe, and fourteen other policemen, Mr Vlok was cleared over the bombing in 1988 of a church building which the security forces believed was being used as a base for anti-apartheid activists.

Mr Vlok -- the only former minister to have sought amnesty -- told the Truth Commission that the bombing had been ordered by the former President, P.W. Botha, something Mr Botha has denied. Mr Vlok, who still has other amnesty cases pending against him, said he was delighted by the success of his first appeal.


First it was white farmers who were reported to be leaving their farms in droves to avoid being murdered by black gangs (see NA, Nov 1998). According to reports that dominated the headlines last year, more than 500 white farmers had been killed since 1994. Now, the boot is on the other foot. According to a recent story in the British daily, The Guardian, "white landowners are getting away with murder" in South Africa.

There is one Pieter Henning who beat, strangled and beheaded two of his black farm workers because one of them called him by his first name Piet instead of baas (boss). At least, Piet was jailed 30 years for that crime. But others are just getting away with it.

"Take the farmer given a suspended sentence for killing one of his workers after he accidentally drove a tractor over the family dog," Chris McGreal, The Guardian's Africa correspondent wrote from Johannesburg. "Or the landowner whom police declined to charge for putting a bullet through the head of a black teenage boy he suspected of stealing fruit. Or the farmer in Louis Trichardt who walked free after shooting one of his labourers because he said he mistook the man for a dog. Five years after the end of apartheid, many abuses of white rule continue on the South African farms that provide a precarious existence for five million blacks."

There is still collusion between the white farmers, the police, prosecution services and magistrates, complains South Africa's Human Rights Commission. But nothing seems to have been done by Nelson Mandela's government.

McGreal writes about a white farmer who early in July (1999!) "plastered one of his neighbour's labourers head to toe in toxic silver paint, as punishment for taking a short cut across his farm. The landowner was arrested only after the 21-year-old Moses Nkosi's shiny picture appeared on the front page of a Johannesburg newspaper. The investigating police officer, who failed to ask a single question of the abusive farmer in the week he was on the case, was suddenly re-assigned."

But the most bizarre of all the killings, involved a six-month-old baby, Angelina Zwane, who was strapped to the back of her 11-year-old cousin as they walked across a farm on which their parents lived and worked. The farmer, Nicholas Steyn, saw the children, ran for his gun, and fired one shot into the air. The bullet ricocheted off a power line and hit the baby who died later in hospital.

When the case came to court after a national outcry, the presiding white judge, Tjibbe Spoelstra said the baby's death was a "tragic accident" and "on the basis of the evidence before the court, nothing suggests that [the white farmer] should go to jail." The judge handed down a suspended sentence, without (as McGreal puts it) asking "what Steyn thought he was doing firing a gun to terrorise small children who lived on his own farm".

The Guardian also reported the ordeal of Sello Masinyane, a worker of the national power company, Eskom, who went to do a routine check of electricity lines on some farms in the Free State.

One white farmer, Chris van Zyl saw the Eskom man, grabbed his gun, went after Masinyane, trussed him up with a rope and dragged him around. Masinyane's Eskom IDs were not good enough for Van Zyl. Neither was he impressed with the pleas of five other Eskom workers who came on the scene.

"The local police superintendent, Daniel Truter, turned up with two detectives," recounts Chris McGreal. "Van Zyl refused to allow them on his land. Despite the other Eskom workers' assertion that a violent crime was in process, Superintendent Truter said he had no right to enter the farm."

In the end, the Eskom workers were freed only after officers attached to the local farm watch self-protection scheme, persuaded the white farmer. "The police decided Van Zyl had no case to answer because he was 'well respected' in the area."

And all this happening more than five years into a democratic government run by black people - first by Nelson Mandela, and now Thabo Mbeki.


If white South Africans are sorry
 for atrocities committed under apartheid, not many are saying so.
     Just a few hundred people have signed a register expressing
 regret at failing to prevent human rights violations under
 apartheid, and the issue of redress for those who suffered seems to
 have slipped off the public agenda.
     The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel set up to look
 into apartheid-era abuses, started a ``register of reconciliation''
 in 1997 for people to convey their remorse and commit themselves to
     But registers kept at four commission offices list just a few
 hundred entries, and only 250 people commented on an Internet
 version. South Africa's white population numbers 4.5 million, or
 about 11 percent of the population.
     Overall, remorse has been slow in coming from white political
 leaders and major institutions, despite occasionally anguished
 calls for apologies from black figures such as the commission's
 revered chairman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
     Most of those who did sign expressed regret at not having done
 more to oppose the oppressive system, which formally ended with
 all-race elections in 1994.
     ``Sorry black S.A.,'' wrote A.C. Botha, a resident of Somerset
 West, a town about 50 miles east of Cape Town.
     Laura Johnson, a South African who now lives in California,
 pledged an unspecified inheritance toward reparations for apartheid
     ``I have to take responsibility for the awful crimes committed
 in my name for my benefit, irrespective of whether I knew or asked
 for them to be committed, and I have to make reparations and appeal
 to other white South Africans to do the same,'' she wrote.
     But her entry in the Truth Commission's Cape Town office
 register is just one of two made this year. Botha made his last
     Mary Burton, a Truth Commission member who came up with the idea
 for the register, said she was initially very excited at people's
     ``Unfortunately there was not sustained utilization of the
 register. We didn't have the time to push the idea,'' she said.
     Burton also feels white South Africans want to forget about
 apartheid rather than come to terms with it. ``People inevitably
 move (on) from what is painful and that is what is happening now.''
     The Truth Commission completed hearings for victims of human
 rights violations under apartheid last year, but one of its
 committees is still considering amnesty applications. It expects to
 wind up its work early next year.
     The commission is still waiting to see how the government will
 respond to its recommendations that hundreds of millions of dollars
 be made available to compensate about 25,000 people it found to be
 apartheid victims.
     ``There were many people who were shocked and moved by what they
 heard at hearings but the euphoria and good will (toward the
 victims) has waned,'' said Burton.
     The commission has received about 11,000 applications for state
 assistance from people it classified as apartheid victims. About
 8,000 of those people have been given small amounts in the interim.

Afrique : histoire, economie, politique

Contenant et contenus conçus et réalisés par Olivier Bain; tirés de l'oubli, toilettés et remis en ligne par Jean-Marc Liotier