South Africa. In February, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel
presented a budget for 2006/07 characterized by extensive
tax cuts, which were made possible by greatly increased tax
collection. In the first place, the tax cuts were aimed at
low- and middle-income earners, but small businesses also
benefited in the hope that this would lead to the creation
of new jobs.
CountryAAH, unemployment was said to be 27%, but
significantly more were assumed to be outside the
In April, Hannes Visser became the first white landowner
to agree to sell back his farm to the state. The government
wants to return 30% of the farmland to black ownership by
2014, but negotiations with the owners are slow. The
affected white landowners were given a six-month deadline in
August to agree on a sale price, otherwise they risk the
state seizing their land.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) triumphed in
more than 60% of the country's municipalities in local
elections in March, despite growing criticism of the Party
of Corruption and failed promises of improved conditions for
the black population. The biggest hardship came in Cape
Town, where the Democratic Alliance (DA) managed to gain a
majority in the city council through cooperation with a
smaller party. Through administrative changes, the ANC tried
to seize power in the city but after six months gave up the
fight after harsh criticism.
Former Vice President Jacob Zuma was acquitted of a rape
charge in May. However, during the trial, he made a series
of statements that were considered to have seriously
undermined his political position. Among other things, he
expressed gross ignorance of the danger of AIDS, despite
being the government's responsible for the work on spreading
the immune deficiency disease. Later, a corruption charge
was laid against him, after the judge rejected the
prosecutors' request for more time for preparation.
South Africa suffered a diplomatic setback when President
Thabo Mbeki was deprived of his role as a mediator in the
Ivory Coast following criticism for favoring the country's
president. On the other hand, diplomatic success was noted
when the country was elected to the UN Security Council in
October for the first time.
A great deal of attention aroused Parliament's decision
in November to allow same-sex marriage, the first time it
took place in an African country.
Former President PW Botha died at the age of 90. He was
Prime Minister and President 1978-89, respectively, and
defended the apartheid system at a time when opposition to
racial segregation policy culminated.
1991 Rising clash with Inkatha and neo-Nazis
In parallel with this development, the "Inkathagate"
scandal broke out. It revealed the support the government
had given to the Zulu in the form of money and military
training, and seriously questioned the government's
intentions. The clashes between the ANC and Inkatha had cost
5,000 killed since 1986. The ANC had laid its weapons in
August 90, but in June 91 the clashes intensified. At the
end of July, they resigned from the Klerk defense and
interior ministers. In September, an agreement was reached
between the two groups and the government, yet the number of
people killed increased the following month.
The National African Front (NFA) sought to establish an
independent white state. In January, some 3,000 armed
members of the organization held a demonstration in front of
the World Trade Center, where negotiations for a new
constitution were underway. They ended up driving an armored
crew car through the center's glass wall.
A report by the Human Rights Commission estimated the
number of people killed during the political violence to be
9,352 for the period 1990-93.
Inkatha, the NFA and the Conservative Party withdrew from
the constitutional negotiations and decided to boycott the
electoral process. The "president" of the Transvaal, Lucas
Mangope, declared during a strike among public servants that
he joined this boycott. It immediately triggered
demonstrations. At the same time, the neo-Nazi Viljoen
ordered his African Resistance Movement to invade
Bophuthastwana to help Mangope. However, they were met by
resistance from civilian black and local forces and forced
to retire. Mangope was deposed and the South African army
took control of the situation. 50 had been killed and 300
injured. A few days later, Viljoen decided to take part in
the electoral process with his newly created Freedom
Inkatha continued its attacks on the ANC's public
activities and provoked violent clashes with Mandela's
supporters. Inkatha's leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi tried to
maintain control of another bantustan - also in Natal. It
failed but he achieved the constitutional recognition of the
Zulu king Goodwill Zweletini, and then agreed to take part
in the elections.
In October, the UN imposed sanctions on South Africa, and
the United States immediately removed its last financial
restrictions. The Provisional Constitution created a
National Assembly with 400 members and a Senate with 90. The
president should have less power than the Prime Minister and
be elected by the National Assembly for a term of 5 years. A
new division of the country was adopted into 9 provinces,
each with their governor and legislative assembly. The 10
bantustans that had been dissolved were incorporated into
these provinces. The national forces for the preservation of
peace were formed by merging the South African army with the
guerrilla units of the ANC and PAC.