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South Africa

Yearbook 1998

South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which has investigated human rights violations during the apartheid years, submitted its final report to President Nelson Mandela in October. The Commission then blamed the ruling Nationalist Party (Nationalist Party, NP) and its state apparatus for the abuses, but said that the entire white community and business were shutting down for the injustices of apartheid because they themselves were favored. According to Countryaah, the ANC (African National Congress) was also blamed for sometimes going too far in the fight against oppression. The ANC tried in vain to have the report stopped in court. The work to deal with amnesty applications and to prosecute criminals who have not applied for amnesty continues for several years. Among those at risk are prosecutors former President PW Botha.

Some of the most shocking testimonies concerned the apartheid state's experiments with biological and chemical weapons. Among other things, attempts were made to cultivate bacteria that would only attack blacks and to sterilize blacks with chemical agents. Plans were also made to poison Nelson Mandela prior to release from prison.

Commander-in-chief Georg Meiring resigned after being criticized for submitting a false report of plans for a left-wing extremist coup against President Mandela. He was succeeded by the designated dome leader Siphiwe Nyanda, former commander of the ANC's armed branch and now the country's first black ÖB.

South Africa's intervention against a military revolt in Lesotho in September received harsh criticism. The army was unprepared and ill-equipped, according to a report to Parliament. Nine South African soldiers were killed in Lesotho.

In November, the Government made a decision in principle on large purchases of military equipment as part of a comprehensive modernization of the armed forces. Among other things, they chose to buy 28 copies of the Swedish fighter aircraft JAS 39 Gripen worth about SEK 15 billion. The final negotiations will start in 1999 and are expected to lead to extensive Swedish counter-purchases.

The currency, the rand, weakened sharply in June and July through aggressive speculative trading. The reason for the weakening of the rand was falling commodity prices and the impact of the Asian crisis. In July, the rand had lost a third of its value against the dollar since January.

1998 South Africa

The resistance to the regime

South African resistance has as long a history as European colonization and oppression, but the many resistance struggles up to around 1900 usually followed the tribal boundaries. After the establishment of the South African Union in 1910, more nationalist movements emerged among blacks - initially among people with education - and in 1912 the African National Congress ( ANC, African National Congress ) was formed. Among the founders, several had completed education at North American or European universities. The ANC's first leaders believed that Africans ' ne could be convinced of the injustice of racial segregation laws and that liberal English-speaking whites would allow blacks to participate in political life. The movement conducted a series of demonstrations against the land and pass laws.

During the post-World War I crisis, the illusion of peaceful means began to fade. A radicalization took place and a stronger professional organization - ia. through the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU). In 1920, a strike was carried out with 40,000 black miners. In 1921, the Communist Party of South Africa was formed, which was, however, predominantly white. The white violence apparatus was deployed, some ANC groups wanted a more "responsible" course and therefore the 1930s became a downturn for the resistance struggle.

Up to 1984, participation in politics was limited to less than 17% of the population - the whites. A constitutional reform this year extended participation to Asians - predominantly Indians - and "colored". The black population remained without suffrage.

In the 1940s, the ANC used a strategy of non-violent opposition to the racist laws. The youth league was part of the ANC and from 1943 formulated a more aggressive program. Its leaders - Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo - gradually gained higher positions within the ANC. In 1949, the ANC adopted a program of action based on militant mass mobilization. In 1950 a general strike was followed, followed by a comprehensive civil disobedience campaign, which began in 1952. An important step forward on the antiracist front was taken in 1956, when a popular congress of about 3,000 representatives adopted the so-called Freedom Charter., with a program for a democratic and non-capitalist South Africa with equal rights across skin tones. The charter was signed by Indian, mulatto, liberal and socialist movements. The country also revolted and the South African Women's Union played an increasingly important role in mass mobilization.

Because of the many compulsory laws and repression measures, it became more difficult to work openly during the 1950s, and the ANC had little developed a strategy to defend itself against the state's apparatus of violence. In 1959, a group broke out of the ANC and formed the Pan Africanist Congress ( PAC, Pan-African Congress). It happened, among other things. in protest against the ANC's cooperation with groups other than Africans, and in dissatisfaction with the ANC's more socialist-oriented course. Since its formation, PAC has been through a number of price changes and factional disputes. It was the PAC that convened a demonstration in Sharpeville in 1960 in protest against the hated pass laws that restricted the movement of blacks. The apartheid regime struck, killing 70 protesters and wounding hundreds.

Following the Sharpeville massacre, the ANC, PAC and the Communist Party were made illegal. The battle underwent a radical change. The ANC formed an armed branch, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), and the PAC formed Poqo (Os only). In 1963, the ANC's top leaders were captured. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, and Oliver Tambo took over the leadership of the movement in exile. The state apparatus's repression and the lack of bases in neighboring countries prevented the guerrillas from making greater progress and recruiting the masses. Neighboring countries continued to be allies to the apartheid regime at this time. The progressive trade union movement - the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) - also had to go underground.

In 1969, the ANC held an important conference in Tanzania, where a new strategy was established - armed struggle, political mobilization, greater emphasis on the working class and opening to membership for progressive colored, Asians and whites.

In the 1970s, the liberation struggle entered a new phase, among other things. with major strike actions in 1972-73, a strengthened underground network for the ANC and SACTU as well as a new generation of young people in the Black Consciousness Movement led by Steven Biko. It covered a wide range of student, student and welfare organizations that worked on an ideological basis to restore African self-awareness, cultural community and fighting spirit. At the same time, the movement gained significant inspiration from Mozambique's liberation, South Africa's military defeat in the attack on Angola in 1975-76, and SWAPO's significant progress in the occupied neighboring country of Namibia.

 

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