South Africa. According to
CountryAAH, the most extensive strikes since the
apartheid era were carried out during the year. Throughout
June, about half a million civil servants quit the job,
leading to the closure of most schools and the emergency
medical services only with the help of military doctors. At
the beginning of the strike, the national organization COSATU demanded a salary increase of 12 percent and was
offered 6 percent. When the strike was quit at the end of
the month, the pay rise stopped at 7.5 percent. Immediately
following this conflict, a quarter of a million metalworkers
went on strike for four days for a better wage offer. the
oil refineries for just over a week.
Relations between the trade union movement and the
ANC-led government were gnawing more and more because of the
government's too-friendly policy according to the trade
unions. When COSATU openly supported leftist populist Jacob
Zuma as the new ANC leader after President Thabo Mbeki, the
party leadership reacted vehemently to what it saw as undue
interference in the ANC's affairs. At the party leadership
election during the ANC congress in December, Zuma clearly
defeated Mbeki, despite prosecutors getting the sign from
the Constitutional Court in November to resume a corruption
investigation against him. The charge was dropped in 2006
after another court found that documents seized during a
house search could not be relied upon. Now, the court ruled
that the documents could be used and at the end of the year,
charges were brought for corruption, fraud, money laundering
and conspiracy with organized crime.
President Mbeki suspended the Prosecutor General Vusi
Pikoli in September, citing cooperation difficulties between
him and the Minister of Justice. However, strong suspicions
were raised that the shutdown was an attempt to protect
National Police Chief Jackie Selebi, also chief of Interpol
and close ally with the president. It was revealed in
October that, at the time of the suspension, Pikoli had, at
the request of the detained crime police, The Scorpions,
issued an arrest warrant on Selebi suspected of corruption
and conspiracy with organized crime. The arrest warrant was
then withdrawn pending a new investigation.
An attempt by the opposition to dismiss Health Minister
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang failed. She is controversial for
her denial of AIDS, but was now accused not only of
incompetence but also of alcoholism and kleptomania. On the
other hand, Deputy Minister of Health Nozizwe
Madlala-Routledge was dismissed as criticizing the
government's AIDS policy.
In May, the largest opposition party Democratic Alliance
elected Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille as new chairman after
Tony Leon, who resigned after 13 years. Zille was faced with
the difficult task of attracting the black voters who could
give the party real credibility.
One of the leading politicians of the apartheid era,
former Police Minister Adriaan Vlok, got back into the
limelight when he was sentenced to ten years in prison on
condition that in 1989 he tried to murder the leading
apartheid opponent Frank Chikane by poisoning his clothes.
Vlok had acknowledged and asked Chikane for forgiveness.
In the May 2009 election, the ANC got 65.9% of the vote
and Jacob Zuma became president. The number of votes
declined by 3.8% and reflected the political crisis the
party had been through.
In June-July 2010 South Africa hosted the soccer world
championships. The host gave South Africa and Africa
prestige. It was the first time an African country had
hosted. But at the same time, it triggered criticism from
especially poor South Africans because the funds for the
huge infrastructure projects could be used to build housing
and create jobs.
In December 2010, South Africa was formally included in
the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) collaboration, which
now became BRICS. The country itself had requested
admission, which had been accommodated. The group held its
first meeting in South Africa in Durban in March 2013.
By 2011, South Africa had welcomed hundreds of thousands
of refugees from Zimbabwe. In June, however, the country
closed its largest refugee reception office in Johannesburg.
At the same time, refugees from Zimbabwe were barred from
entering South Africa, and other already registered refugees
were sent back to Zimbabwe because they possessed "valid
travel documents". In SADC, South Africa, in turn, took on a
stronger role for Zimbabwe. At a Livingstone meeting in
Zambia in March, SADC leaders criticized Mugabe for failing
to implement the promised political reforms. Mugabe again
responded with a smear campaign against Zuma and the SADC
negotiating panel to intervene in Zimbabwe's internal
The many refugees in South Africa are putting additional
pressure on the country's already under pressure. The
refugees, who are often illegal, constitute the lowest paid
part of the labor market, thereby squeezing wages and
contributing to the already right South American
unemployment. This has led to several xenophobic
demonstrations against the refugees, who have also been
subjected to violent reprisals.
South Africa voted in March for the UN Security Council
Resolution 1973, paving the way for NATO's war on Libya.
South Africa's voice led to fierce protests from the African
Union (AU) against, and South Africa subsequently joined
with the AU in the peace talks on Libya, which were all
rejected and sabotaged by NATO. NATO's abuse of the UN
mandate meant that for the rest of 2011, South Africa
refused to vote for Western resolutions to pave the way for
war against Syria. Russia and China vetoed the same
Security forces routinely use excessive violence against
protesters and detainees. At the same time, impunity is
widespread. It was therefore positive when, in May 2012, 12
Bellville South Organized Crime Unit police officers were
brought to justice, accused of killing an arrester they had
in their custody. But in November 2013, all 12 were
acquitted ' lack of evidence ». Impunity could continue.