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28 February 2013

Leader: Unfinished business

By New Statesman

Commentators routinely refer to “the new South Africa”, though it is now nearly 19 years since the apartheid regime was formally dissolved with the all-race elections that swept Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) to power. This is not just a matter of chronological imprecision, however, for, as Hedley Twidle says in his essay on the Oscar Pistorius affair on page 20, there is a great deal of “unfinished business buried in the South African body politic”. The journey towards genuine multiracial and multiparty democracy in South Africa has been more arduous than many expected. Mamphela Ramphele, the former partner of Steve Biko, has accused the government of forfeiting “moral authority and international respect”. She will stand against the ANC in next year’s elections and represents the best hope so far for the emergence, at last, of a credible opposition in South Africa.

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