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
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.