According to ehistorylib, in 2005, the population of South Africa was around 44.8 million people, with the majority belonging to African ethnic groups. The economy of South Africa in 2005 was largely based on services, manufacturing and mining, with its foreign trade being a major component of its GDP growth. Foreign relations in 2005 were largely focused on regional cooperation with other African countries and economic integration with global markets. In terms of politics, South Africa operated as a constitutional democracy under President Thabo Mbeki who had been elected in 2004. The government was divided between an executive branch led by the president and a legislative branch consisting of two houses. Women enjoyed some rights and freedoms compared to other countries in the region, but they still faced issues such as limited access to high-level positions and employment opportunities. Political freedom was generally respected although there were occasional reports of restrictions on media freedom and human rights abuses.
South Africa. According to countryaah, Bloemfontein; Pretoria; Cape Town is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of South Africa. South Africa suffered its worst political crisis in 2005 since the apartheid system ceased in 1994. In June, Schabir Shaik, economic adviser to Vice President Jacob Zuma, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraud and corruption in connection with an order worth about SEK 8 billion from the French arms manufacturer Thales. During the trial, such information emerged about the Vice President’s involvement in the bribery business that President Thabo Mbeki decided to dismiss Zuma. As new Vice President, he appointed Minister of Minerals and Energy Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who thus became the country’s highest ranking female politician.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym SF stands for the country of South Africa and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Prosecution was also brought against Zuma, who was sentenced in October for preliminary court hearings. The deal exposed a deep crack within the ANC government party between the economically liberal, business-friendly branch, represented by President Mbeki, and the radical phalanx, which calls for faster action against the economic injustices and which has ended behind Zuma. As Vice President, Zuma served as Mbeki’s radical alibi and helped to keep the alliance between the ANC, the national organization COSATU and the Communist Party SACP. This cooperation has long been in the forefront, and in June COSATU announced a national one-day strike against unemployment and poverty. The strike mainly affected the mines and the textile industry, two industries with major problems and high unemployment, in the case of the mines through the strengthened position of the domestic currency and for the textile industry competition from mainly China. In August, 100,000 gold miners struck for higher wages and better living conditions. In August, some 70 organizations, led by COSATU, formed an alliance to exert pressure on the government to create more jobs and correct the injustices that are a legacy of apartheid. Unemployment is officially around 26%, but in reality up to 40% is estimated to be unemployed.
Vice President Mlambo-Ngcuka said in July that land reform should be accelerated because the principle of voluntary sale of agricultural land did not work. The whites, who make up 10% of the population, still own 80% of the arable land. While the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest legal body, ruled in May that a white landowner was entitled to state damages for his property being occupied by 40,000 landless people, but in September the government ordered the first forced sale of an agricultural land.
South Africa has long emerged as one of the countries most severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but in July a report showed that the situation is even worse than expected. At least 6.3 million South Africans are estimated to be infected, about 1.8 million more than according to official statistics.
1976 Rebellion in Soweto
In 1976, there was a riot among young people in the Johannesburg suburb of Soweto (South West Township). It arose from a wave of actions and awareness raising and could therefore quickly evolve from a student demonstration to a national uprising. It was also evident that many in the consciousness-raising organizations had contacts with the “old” liberation movements. Opportunities for open work were closed when all legal opposition movements in the fall of 1977 were banned, while student leader Steve Biko was murdered by police.
But the rebellion at the same time showed the whites that the crisis had reached their own cities, where until then they had felt safe. During the previous 20 years, the specialized non-white labor force in the industry tripled, while the black population earned 5-10 times less than the whites. The white minority government, therefore, undertook some reforms of apartheid in order to curb new explosions among emigrant workers in urban suburbs.
It was Against this background, the Pretoria government declared 4 bantustans – Transkei, Ciskei, Venda and Bophuthatswana – for independent states. The goal was to curb migration among the unemployed blacks. With this move, 8 million people were deprived of their South African citizenship and made foreigners in their own country. However, very few states abroad recognized these “independent states”.
The independence of Angola and Mozambique in 1975 and Zimbabwe in 1980 radically changed the situation in South Africa. The ANC found in these countries and in the other so-called frontline states – Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia – a particularly valuable hinterland. South Africa’s economy was three times larger than all these states combined, and it now initiated a policy of destabilization, which included consisted of economic pressure, sabotage, support for rebels and invasion. All to push the countries to give up their support for the anti-apartheid movements and to block their attempts to free themselves from regional South African domination.
An important focal point of the conflict in southern Africa lay in Namibia – a former German colony that South Africa had occupied during World War I and since it was annexed. In 1966, the United Nations had decided that South Africa should give Namibia independence. A claim such as the African unity organization OAU and frontline states continued to make, despite Western attempts to dilute it. But independence had to wait 25 years. It was not until March 21, 1990, that the country gained its independence.
US support for South Africa was central to the apartheid regime exercising its economic and military power in the area. About 400 North American companies had interests in the country and US capital and technology were vital to the development of its industry and military potential.
South Africa was also the world’s largest exporter of platinum, gold, manganese, chromium and vanadium; The second largest in terms of antimony, diamonds, fluorine and asbestos; And the third largest in terms of titanium, uranium and zirconium. At the same time, the country is located in a strategically important place where 70% of Europe’s and 30% of US oil consumption passes by. The extreme nationalism of Africans played an important role in preserving the country as an integral part of the Western economic system.
During the “Reagan era” in the 1980s, the United States devoted all its economic and military power to preventing revolutionary change in southern Africa. Domestic politics, South Africa’s Prime Minister Pieter Botha (1978-89) implemented reforms which, however, only to a limited extent resolved racial segregation policy. In 1982-84, a constitutional reform was implemented that gave Indians and others colored voting rights and at the same time introduced a three-chamber system – one for each race. The black population continued to be excluded and had only some form of influence at the local level. The non-white population boycotted the reform and abstained.
The South African economy came into crisis in 1983 when the price of the country’s most important export commodity – gold – fell. The economic problems now also affected the interlayer, which until then had been shielded from any poverty. In this situation, the racist parties on the extreme right wing progressed significantly. Botha’s promised gradual liberalization of apartheid ran into considerable resistance. The repression of the black population was not diminished, but on the contrary complicated by clashes between various black ethnic groups and organizations. In July 85, the government declared 36 districts in emergency. Towards the end of 1986, the number of people killed exceeded 750 and several thousand oppositionists were interned.