South Africa. President Jacob Zuma was often in the eye
during the year. In February, he aroused scandal by
admitting that he became the father of an extra-marital
child. Zuma already has three wives and 19 children with
them. Now he was criticized for being a bad example in the
work of limiting the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, he
easily averted a lack of confidence in Parliament as
requested by the opposition.
Later, the president was praised when South Africa seemed
to be on the brink of a new racial war, after the
Nazi-inspired racist party AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche
was murdered in his home by two farm workers. The
assassination caused great anger among old apartheid
supporters and AWB threatened revenge. The party withdrew
the threat after President Zuma lamented the grief of the
relatives and appealed to the nation for calm. Many, not
just white racists, felt that the hateful song "Kill the
Boer", often performed publicly by young members of the
ruling party ANC, had helped to whip up a dangerous mood.
When the Constitutional Court banned the song in March, the
ANC leadership was upset, but after the murder of
Terre'Blanche, the party self-exhorted its supporters to
refrain from singing it.
COUNTRYAAH, the radical leader of the ANC's youth union, Julius Malema, was forced into public prayer for criticizing Zuma.
The president had educated him for praising Zimbabwe's
dictator Robert Mugabe. Malema was also the one who most
diligently used to sing "Kill the Boer".
Jacob Zuma could later also bask in the brilliance of a
well-executed football World Cup. All fears that South
Africa would not cope with such an arrangement were
shameful. In the short term, the World Cup will be a heavy
financial burden to bear, but most assessors agreed that the
country would benefit in the long term. The success provided
a goodwill that South Africa has not experienced since
Nelson Mandela's time as president and was also considered
to have contributed to a new national unity.
Mandela's father turned 92 in July and now rarely appears
in public. Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the
leaders in the fight against apartheid, also announced
during the year that he is withdrawing from the public. Tutu
is 79 years old.
President Zuma received new praise when he carried out a
major government reform in October. None of his
democratically elected representatives ever managed to get
rid of so many incompetent or unproductive ministers.
Former National Police Chief and Interpol Chief Jackie
Selebi was sentenced to 15 years in prison for receiving the
equivalent of more than SEK 1.2 million in bribes from a
notorious mafia boss.
Despite Zuma's strengthened position, the government also
had problems. For nearly three weeks in August - September,
more than one million public servants went on strike for
higher wages. The schools were closed and military doctors
maintained basic medical care. The strike highlighted the
increasingly strained relations between the ANC and its
traditional trade unions.
The government also received harsh criticism for a
proposal for a media law that was feared to restrict freedom
of the press radically. The bill included, among other
things, the establishment of a media court that could impose
severe penalties for unwanted media reporting on topics that
were deemed important for the nation's security.
In October 2016, South Africa decided to leave the ICC.
The immediate cause was the internal conflict in the country
between the judiciary on the one hand and the government on
the other. The basic political reason was that since its
inception, the ICC had become an instrument of Western
interests and had therefore not pursued or dealt with
widespread Western war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen,
Sri Lanka or Palestine, but in Africa alone. Few weeks
before the South African departure, Burundi had broken with
the ICC. ( South Africa to quit international criminal
court, Guardian 21/10 2016).
IPID reported 366 deaths as a result of police action in
2015-16 as well as 216 deaths in police custody. This was a
decrease compared to previous years. In addition, there were
145 cases of torture, 51 rapes committed by police officers
and 3509 assaults. The judicial treatment of police criminal
activities was often callous and slow.
In April 2017, the ICC issued a ruling on South Africa's
non-arrest of Sudan President al-Bashir in 2015. The order
sharply criticized South Africa and found that the
non-arrest was in violation of both international law and
South Africa's own laws.
South Africa today faces a difficult political and
economic situation. Mandela and the ANC paid a high price to
the white minority to ensure a reasonably peaceful
transition from apartheid rule to parliamentary democracy.
The white minority was largely allowed to retain its
financial privileges. But this alliance with the white
minority also limited the opportunities for redistribution
in favor of the black majority population. The economic
basis for social services for this part of the population
and the creation of more jobs is therefore limited. The
consequence has been that the frustrations of the black
majority population are increasing. results in high crime.
The slow redistribution of the country's wealth and growing
frustration may in a few years become a bomb under the ANC.