South Africa. Nelson Mandela left the presidential post
in June and was replaced by Thabo Mbeki. The change of power
occurred since the African National Congress (African
National Congress, ANC), won in the parliamentary elections
on June 2 with 66.4% of the vote.
Countryaah official website, the European Central Bank's plans to sell large parts of
its gold reserve caused a stir in South Africa. Earlier, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) had announced the sale of
ten percent of its gold to finance a debt relief program for
the most indebted poor countries. According to South Africa,
this would trigger a price race that would close many mines
and place more than 100,000 without work. The gold price had
already fallen to the lowest level in 20 years already in
July. However, since the EU central banks in September
limited sales to 400 tonnes a year for five years and the
IMF shelved its plans, however, the price quickly rose from
$ 250 per ounce to over 300.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted amnesty
to former Police Minister Adriaan Vlok and former National
Police Chief Johan van der Merwe for the blast of the South
African Church Council headquarters in 1988. The assault was
considered politically conditional, and they were considered
to have responded sincerely during the interrogations.
However, the five policemen who had killed the black leader
Steve Biko in 1977 did not receive amnesty, nor did those
who in 1993 were behind the murder of Communist leader Chris
Former pastor and ANC activist Allan Boesak was sentenced
in March to six years in prison for embezzlement of, among
other things. Swedish aid.
In October, the trial began for the former head of South
Africa's chemical and biological weapons program, Wouter
Basson. He is charged with murder and attempted murder of
apartheid opponents and for experiments with drugs intended
to kill or sterilize blacks.
Despite cuts in the armed forces, South Africa fulfilled
the plans for large purchases of advanced military
equipment. In December, an agreement was signed for the
purchase of 28 Swedish JAS 39 Gripen plan for approximately
SEK 13 billion. The first will be delivered in 2007, but
South Africa can until 2004 limit the order to nine planes.
A counter-purchase for SEK 60 billion is expected to create
65,000 new jobs in South Africa.
Although the Constitution had banned most forms of
discrimination since 1994, a new law passed in January 2000
introduced the concept of non-discrimination in the
relationships between individuals. The same law also
prohibited discrimination based on age, sexual orientation,
culture, pregnancy, marital status, conscience and language.
Although South Africa had already imposed restrictions on
arms exports and imports in 1994 and played a key role in
1997 in the adoption of the Convention on the Use, Storage,
Production and Resale of Anti-Personnel Mines, an October
2000 Human Rights Watch report accused Pretoria of selling
weapons to countries where human rights are being violated
and where the flow of weapons is only exacerbating the
abuses. In April 2001, an official commission launched
investigations into the allegation of corruption in a arms
deal involving both Pretoria and English, German, French,
Swedish and South African companies. However, the November
Commission final report relieved the government of
responsibility in the affair.
In early 2001, a government official accused the
country's Indian minority of being unable to assume
responsibility. That prompted Mandela to accuse members of
the country's black majority of using their power to
subjugate ethnic minorities, and at the same time urged the
ANC to take steps to change this situation.
In September 2001, the UN World Conference against Racism
was conducted in Durban. The conference was marked by strong
contradictions between the countries present and the
countries that boycotted the conference. In particular, it
was about the United States and Israel who refused to enter
into discussions about whether or not Israel's repression of
the Palestinian people is discrimination. The conference
ended up passing a resolution characterizing Israel's policy
towards the Palestinians as racially discriminatory. Another
theme that divided the conference was the demand by the
African countries for financial compensation from the former
colonial lords. Most European countries had initially been
willing to apologize for the slave trade, but subsequently
considered the claim for financial compensation "illogical".
On April 11, 2002, the South African judiciary acquitted
Wouter Basson, who in the South African media went by the
name of "Doctor Murder". He had become known for the
development of a bacteriological program against the
country's black population. Basson had sought to develop
"intelligent" bacteria that would kill blacks alone, and he
had collected enough reserves of cholera and anthrax
bacteria to start an epidemic. Among his "weapons" were,
sugar with salmonella, anthrax cigarettes, botulinum
chocolate and herbicide whiskey. Mbeki's cabinet chief,
Frank Chikane, had been close to dying after wearing clothes
poisoned by Basson. During the trial, this man pleaded
innocent, claiming that he had simply followed orders,
though he did not express remorse on any occasion.
According to a report from the South African Medical
Research Council will 5-7 million South Africans die of AIDS
by 2010, and life expectancy drops to 36 years. Mbeki
claimed that the report's sources were not credible, and
therefore pressed to delay publication. It is believed that
South Africa has the world's highest HIV infection rate of
4.7 million. infected. Over 12 million children have lost
their parents as a result of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
Leaders of the Opposition Democratic Alliance in March 2001
urged Mbeki to introduce a national state of emergency so
that infected people could access appropriate copy medicine.
The South African legislation that allows for these imports
in exceptional situations could never be implemented due to
pressure from the multinational medicine groups that
manufacture the original medicine. Still, in April
international pressure forced 39 groups to withdraw a bail
ban. The step was given great importance by the poor
countries who need to import cheaper medicines to curb the