South Africa - First 20 Years of Democracy (1994 - 2014)

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South Africa’s advent to democracy was ushered through the 1993 Interim Constitution, drawn up through negotiations among various political parties, culminating in the country’s first non-racial election in 1994.

All legally eligible South Africans were able to cast their vote for the first time on 27 April 1994 to mark the end of apartheid rule and establish a new Constitutional order.

This year, 2014, marks 20 years of democracy in South Africa, coinciding with the fifth national elections as a democratic country.

The road to democracy in South Africa was marked by centuries of racial and economic discrimination and oppression as well as an unyielding sacrifice and resistance of the oppressed peoples, together with a minority of their White compatriots. Today South Africa is a new society built on a foundation of freedom and democracy.

In order to mark these 20 years of democracy it is important to reflect on some of the key issues/features of the country’s young democracy. This features focuses on a range of aspects such as socio-economic and health polices; formation of new political parties; establishment of institutions such as the Independent Electoral Commission, Public Protectors Office, Labour Court, Equality Court and the Constitutional Court; and major events such as 2010 Fifa World Cup and so on.

Last updated : 03-May-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 14-Jan-2014

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