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

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Timeline 20 years of Democracy 1994 to 2014

1994

27 April,South Africa's interim constitution which was adopted in November 1993 came into effect on 27th April 1994 to administer South Africa’s first democratic elections and shifted the country towards the construction of a new political, social and economic order.

27 April, The national flag was designed by a former South African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell, and was first used for the first time during the 1994 elections.

27 April, first, non-racial, democratic elections held in South Africa. However elderly people and people who are physically challenged voted on the 26 April.

28 April, following numerous complaints about poor arrangements at some polling stations, President de Klerk approves a recommendation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to extend by one day polling in areas plagued by voting problems. These include KwaZulu, Venda, Gazankulu, Lebowa, Transkei and Ciskei.

2 May, the Independent Electoral Commission releases the provisional results of the national elections with the African National Congress (ANC) topping the list with  54 percent, while the National Party (NP) followed with 33 percent and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) with 4.5 percent.

3 May, South Africa resumes its full membership of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

6 May, final election results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission Chair, Judge Johan Kriegler. The African National Congress (ANC), headed by Nelson Mandela, which captures 252 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, but falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to effect unilateral constitutional change. The ruling National Party (NP) of F.W de Klerk came in second with 82 seats, ahead of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) led by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi with 43 seats.

May 9, 1994, Nelson Mandela was unanimously elected president by the National Assembly, with Thabo Mbeki, deputy leader of the ANC and F.W. de Klerk as deputy presidents.

10 May, Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa's first democratic president.  Thabo Mbeki (ANC) and F.W. de Klerk (NP) were sworn in as Executive Deputy Presidents under a provision in the Constitution entitling every party holding at least 20% of the seats to designate an Executive Deputy President from among the members of the National Assembly.

11 May, a coalition Government of National Unity (GNU) is announced. Ministerial membership of the Cabinet (18 ANC portfolios, six for the NP and three for the IFP) based on the provision that each party winning at least 5% of the national vote would be entitled to one or more Cabinet portfolios, in proportion to the number of seats held by it.

24 May, Cyril Ramaphosa, Secretary-General of the ANC, elected chairman of the Constituent Assembly which is to write a new constitution for the country within two years.

24 May, Nelson Mandela delivers the first State of the Nation Address before the democratically elected parliament.

25 May, the Security Council adopted a resolution lifting its 1977 Arms Embargo and other restrictive measures against South Africa, thus removing the remaining United Nations sanctions against South Africa. [Resolution 919(1994)]

31 May, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaouku at a press conference at the Commonwealth Headquarters in London, informs the media that effective 1 June 1994, South Africa would resume its membership of the Commonwealth.

17 November, The Restitution of Land Rights Bill is passed by President Nelson Mandela and signed into law.

12 December, South Africa re-admitted to UNESCO. It was forced out of the organisation in 1956 because of its policy of apartheid.

1995

14 February, the Constitutional Court is formally opened by President Nelson Mandela.

15 February, President Nelson Mandela announces he will not be standing for re-election in 1999.

1 March, The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights is constituted to assist claimants in submitting their land claims, and advise claimants on the progress of their land claims.

27 March, Winnie Mandela, Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, is dismissed from her post.

14 April, Winnie Mandela resigns as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, hours before her second official dismissal.

25 May-24 June, The Rugby World Cup is staged in South Africa; for the first time that all matches would be played in one country. South Africa participates in the tournament for the first time, following the end of their international sports boycott due to the apartheid regime. South Africa wins the tournament, defeating New Zealand 15-12 in the final at Ellis Park.

28 June, Name changes to three of South Africa's nine provinces are announced: Pretoria Witwatersrand and Vereeniging becomes Gauteng; Orange Free State becomes the Free State and the Northern Transvaal becomes the Northern Province.

July, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), is established by the new South African government in 1995 under thePromotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Amendment Act 34 of 1995 to help heal the country and bring about a reconciliation of its people by uncovering the truth about human rights violations that had occurred during apartheid.Archbishop Desmond Tutu was appointed Chair of the Commission by President Nelson Mandela, with Alex Boraine as his deputy.On 16 December 1995 the Commission began its work, with victims testifying in public hearings and perpetrators applying for amnesty.

4 October, Identification Amendment Act No 47: Amended the 1986 Identification Act so as to repeal certain obsolete provisions, and ordered, with retrospective effect, that a new population register be compiled and maintained. Commenced: 4 October 1995

October, the Public Protector’s Office is established, in terms of  Chapter Nine of the South African Constitution of 1996, as one of a cluster of institutions to strengthen the constitutional democracy of the Republic.  Before South Africa’s advent to democracy, the office was previously known as the Office of the Ombudsman which was established on 22 November 1991.

10 November, Results of the national local government elections are published: 51.37% participated, 5.3 million people in total. The African National Congress is the overall winner, securing 66.37% of the votes cast. Voting took place in some parts of Western Cape but not in the metropolitan areas and some rural areas of the province because of the delay in demarcation of electoral baoundaries. Kwazulu Natal province voting was also postponed due to continuing violence in the region.

1996

13 January - 3 February, South Africa hosts the Africa Cup of Nations Tournament, in soccer, replacing original hosts Kenya. It was the national team, Bafana Bafana’s second appearance in the tournament. They had been unbanned just four years prior to the tournament and were generally thought of as the underdogs. Bafana Bafana won by beating Tunisia 2-0.

2 February, the National Party launches a 'core values' document in Pretoria. On the same day it is reported that the Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development Minister Roelf Meyer will resign his Cabinet post on 1 March 1996 to become Secretary-General of the 'revamped' National Party. Its leader Mr. F.W. de Klerk confirms that while it is not seeking formal alliances, it has held discussions with various parties opposed to the African National Congress (ANC).

19 March, President Nelson Mandela's thirteen-year marriage to Winnie Mandela is formally ended when a Rand Supreme Court judge grants his petition for divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown.

21 March, Parliament establishes the Human Rights Commission to promote and protect human rights. It is empowered to investigate violations and advise government on implementation of human rights. Dr. Barney Pityana is appointed Chair. Members include Dr. Max Coleman, Helen Suzman and Brigalia Bam.

28 March, President Nelson Mandela announces important changes to the Government of National Unity. Finance Minister Chris Liebenberg, whose resignation takes effect on 4 April 1996, is replaced by Trevor Manuel hitherto Trade and Industry and Tourism Minister; Pallo Jordan, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications is dismissed and replaced by Jay Naidoo formerly Minister in charge of the Reconstruction and Development Programme.

15 April, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), under Chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu, begins its first formal hearings in the East London City Hall. The TRC was set up to help deal with violations of human rights during the apartheid era.

3 April, Five members of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) are sentenced to twenty-six years imprisonment each for their part in a bombing campaign in which twenty people were killed and hundreds injured, aimed at disrupting the 1994 elections.

13 April, Cyril Ramaphosa, Secretary-General of the African National Congress and chairman of the Constitutional Assembly, announces his intention to resign from Parliament once the final Constitution is agreed upon. He will become deputy Executive Chairman of New Africa Investment Ltd. (NAIL).

15 April, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds its opening session in East London. Reservations are expressed about the constitutional right of the Commission to grant amnesty to political killers by the families of anti-apartheid activists. Legal groups also argue that evidence of crimes should be heard in a court of law.

8 May, The new Constitution is finally approved by the 490-member Constituent Assembly: 421 votes are cast in favour, two against, the Freedom Front (FF) abstains, the Inkatha Freedom Party does not attend the session, nine votes are not recorded. The heart of the constitution is a Bill of Rights listing fundamental freedom.

14 June, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel unveils the government's macro-economic strategy in a framework document entitled Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR).

9 May, Second Executive President F.W. de Klerk announces that the NP will withdraw from the Government of National Unity at the end of June 1996 and move into formal opposition. This decision is said to be occasioned by disagreements over the constitution itself and the growing financial crisis resulting from the collapse of the Rand.

30 June, the National Party leaves the Government of National Unity headed by Nelson Mandelato become the Official Opposition, its first time out of government since 1948. The party sought to recast its image by changing its name to the New National Party (NNP) in December 1998.

2 July, the results of the local government elections in Kwazulu-Natal is released and indicate that Inkatha Freedom Party polled 44.50 percent of the votes, the African National Congress 33.22 percent. Ward results give Inkatha 562 seats, the African National Congress  512 and the National Party 187. The African National Congress wins control of all thirteen of the province's metropolitan councils, with a combined annual budget of R5 billion. lnkatha takes control of most of the rural councils but the budget allocation is less than R100 million.

7 July, in a television broadcast President Nelson Mandela confirms that he will not stand for re-election in 1999 and supports Deputy President Thabo Mbeki as his successor.

26 July, Bantu Holomisa is dismissed as Deputy Environment and Tourism Minister. His responsibilities are assigned to former ANC Youth League leader Peter Mokaba and it is announced that he will face internal ANC disciplinary charges.

30 August, Bantu Holomisa is expelled from the ANC after a disciplinary hearing. He was expelled from the ANC after testifying to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) about irregular activities in the Transkei. He refused to retract his testimony, arguing that what he had said was of historical knowledge to all concerned.

11 October, The new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is adopted by the Constitutional Assembly as Act 108 of 1996. It is set to come into effect as of 4 February 1997.

17 October, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), an independent organisation provided under chapter nine of the Constitution is established. Before its establishment, a temporary Electoral Commission was created in 1993 under the Interim Constitution of 1993 to manage the first non-racial election of the national and provincial legislatures, which was held on 26–29 April 1994.

31 October, The National Assembly passes legislation providing for abortion on demand within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and for terminations to be permitted under specified conditions up to the twentieth week of pregnancy. The changes are opposed by Christian and Muslim religious groups.

October, the first census in the post-Apartheid era is conducted in 1996. The results indicate that South Africa has a population of 43 million people, 22 million of them women.

4 November, Free State Provincial Premier Patrick 'Terror' Lekota and the entire provincial Executive Committee agree to resign following allegations of corruption and nepotism. On 20 November 1996 Deputy President Thabo Mbeki endorses Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri as Lekota's successor.

13 December, President Nelson Mandela extends both the cut-off date for amnesty applications and the deadline for applications to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Amnesty may now be sought for political crimes carried out up to 10 May 1994, the date of his inauguration as President. Applications to the TRC is postponed to 10 May 1997.

10 December, two years after the first democratic election (1994) the President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, signs the final draft of the constitution into law at Sharpeville, Vereeniging.The final constitution contains a Bill of Rights, modelled on the chapter on fundamental rights in the interim constitution.

1997

1 January, Robben Island Museum is officially opened on 1997. Two years later it is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

17 January, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hears that General George Meiring is implicated with more than sixty officers and soldiers in 'dirty tricks' including state-sponsored murder. It also suggests that the former President F.W. de Klerk refused to investigate charges against General Meiring and two other generals despite the Steyn commission of enquiry.

28 January, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission confirm newspaper reports that five former security police officers have confessed to the 1977 murder of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, and have made a formal amnesty application.

4 February, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa comes into effect. The week from 17 to 21 March is named national Constitution Week: more than seven million copies of the Constitution are distributed in all 11 languages.

17 March, Allan Boesak appears in a Cape Town court to face nine charges of fraud and twenty one charges of theft involving more than $800,000 - most of it donated to his Foundation for Peace and Justice by Danish and Swedish aid organizations. The case is postponed until 4 August 1997.

1 April, South Africa's second biggest labour federation is officially launched following the merger of the Federation of South African Labour Unions and the Federation of Organisations Representing Civil Employees. The new Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has 25 affiliated unions and claims a membership of 515,000.

26 April, Winnie Mandela, former wife of President Nelson Mandela, is overwhelmingly re-elected as president of the ANC's Women's League by 656 votes to 114 for her deputy Thandi Modise. Her victory reflects the level of grassroots support she continues to enjoy.

23 April, Eugene Terre'Blanche, leader of the Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging (AWB) was convicted on two counts, for attempted murder and assault in a Potchefstroom court and sentenced to six years in jail. This sentence was handed down for the brutal assault of one of his workers, a Mr Paul Motshabi, whom he beat over the head and neck in March 1996.

11 May, some 8,000 people filed for amnesty to meet the deadline of the TRC for the investigation of apartheid-era crimes.

August 26, former President F.W. de Klerk announces his retirement from politics and his leading role in the New National Party.

10 October, A shortened, combined version of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and The Call of South Africa becomes the national anthem of South Africa in terms of Section 4 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), following a proclamation in the Government Gazette No. 18341.

December 16, President Nelson Mandela steps aside as leader of the African National Congress and is succeeded by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.

December 20, President Nelson Mandela steps down as leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress.

1998

January, six white police officers makes a video tape showing a "training exercise" where they incited their dogs to maul three black men and beat the victims if they tried to protect themselves. The officers were arrested in 2000 on charges of attempted murder. 4 officers pleaded guilty in 2001.

7 January, The attorney general announces that former President Pieter Botha would be prosecuted for refusing to appear before the Truth Commission and for hindering its work

11 April, Nicholas Steyn (42), a white farmer, shot Francina Diamina (11) and her 6-month old cousin, Angelina, for trespassing. The baby is hit in the head and killed and Francina is wounded in the back. Steyn was convicted of culpable homicide in 1999. Steyn was given a suspended sentence in 1999 and freed.

April 29, President Nelson Mandela names Siphiwe Nyanda as the first black to head the South African National Defence Force.

8 May, The National Sports Council ask the world to boycott South African Rugby in a move to push for the resignation of Louis Luyt, the league’s president, over racist and corrupt practices.

10 May, Louis Luyt announce his resignation as the president of the South African Rugby Football Assoc.

18 July, South African President Nelson Mandela capped his 80th birthday by marrying Graca Machel, the widow of a Mozambican president and black liberation leader Samora Machel.

31 July, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission closes down after two years of hearings. A report is due in October. 1998.

21 August, former President P.W. Botha (82) is convicted of ignoring a subpoena to testify about apartheid atrocities in front of the  Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is fined $1,577 and given a suspended 1 year jail sentence.

September, South African senior foreign ministry official Robert McBride is arrested on suspicion of gun running in neighboring Mozambique and held for six months before being released.

29 October, after almost three years of work, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) delivers its final 3,500 page report to President Nelson Mandela.It is based on years of testimony from the people who ran the 1960-1994 white-government and their victims.

1999

16 February, the four police officers charged with the fatal beating of Steve Biko are denied amnesty.

03 March, President Nelson Mandela announces June 2 as the date for South Africa's second democratic election, a vote that will mark his retirement from office.

 17 March, Allan Boesak (53), a leading anti-apartheid activist, is convicted of stealing money from foreign donors intended for the Foundation for Peace and Justice. He was later sentenced to six years in prison for theft and fraud.

25 March, Wouter Basson, the former head of chemical and biological warfare known as Project Coast dubbed "Doctor Death," was indicted on 64 charges that included murder, theft and fraud. Project Coast under the South African Defence Force's South African Medical Service (SAMS) division was a top-secret chemical and biological weapons (CBW) program instituted by the South African government during the apartheid era. Conspiracy charges for offences in Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Britain are later dismissed, with 61 charges remained. Basson was acquitted of 46 counts of murder, fraud and drug dealing in 2002

May, President Nelson Mandela hands the Schmidtsdrift San communities almost 13,000 hectares of farmland, including Platfontein, near Kimberley. The Schmidtsdrift San are members of the! Xun and! Khwe tribes who were employed by the former SA Defence Force in its war against the South West African People's Organisation (Swapo) during the eighties.

14 May, In South Africa the ruling African National Congress signs a peace pact with the arch-rival Inkatha Freedom Party.

2 June, Millions of voters turn out for the national elections. The ANC achieves victory with 62.2% support after half the votes were counted. The final count shows a 65.7% win. The ANC won 266 seats, one seat short of a two-third majority.

15 June, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission grants amnesty to Eugene Terre’Blanche after he makes a full disclosure for his apartheid-era crimes.

16 June, Thabo Mbeki is sworn in as South Africa's second post-apartheid president succeeding former President Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings. Mbeki appoints Jacob Zuma, who was the chairperson of the ANC, as deputy president.

8 August, The former minister of labour, Tito Mboweni, is appointed governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to replace Dr Chris Stals. Mboweni, the first Black person to head this highly reputed institution, is inaugurated at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, on 7 August 1999. He first joined the South African Reserve Bank as an advisor to Stals in 1998, when he resigned all of his elected and appointed positions in the ANC.

1 September, President Thabo Mbeki launches the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO), better known as the Scorpions, a Business Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). In terms of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998), the DSO is a distinct and autonomous directorate. It works closely with other units including the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

September, South African government signs a deal with Saab for 26 JAS Gripen fighter jets for 1.6 billion euros. The deal was later trimmed to 26 planes. Allegations of fraud later arose after Saab disclosed that bribes had been paid in the form of bonuses and salaries between 2003 and 2005 by its South African subsidiary Sanip, which was then controlled by BAE Systems.

 December,  the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is inscribed as South Africa’s first world heritage site as an area of exceptional and outstanding universal heritage significance. The natural values in terms of which the iSimangaliso Wetland Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List include outstanding examples of ecological processes, superlative natural phenomena and scenic beauty, and exceptional biodiversity and threatened species. It has since been joined by other sites, namely: Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, Robben Island, Maloti-Drakensberg Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, Vredefort Dome, Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape.

2000

January, the partnership is formalized by South African National Aids Council (SANAC) to review its two years of work against HIV/AIDS being under the leadership of Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

27 April, The Coat of Arms of South Africa is introduced on Freedom Day. The motto !ke e: /xarra //keis written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people and translates literally to "diverse people unite". A new coat of arms, replaces one that has served South Africa since 17 September 1910. The change reflects Government's aim to highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism.

9 - 14 July, The 13th International AIDS Conference held in Durban presents an important opportunity to focus on HIV/AIDS in the developing world, as South Africa was the first developing country to host the Conference. President Thabo Mbeki opened the conference and insisted that poverty was a greater enemy than the AIDS virus. Hundreds of delegates walked out.

July, Nkosi Johnson (10), a victim of AIDS, speaks to international delegates during the The 13th International AIDS Conference held in Durban  and implores South Africa to provide HIV-positive pregnant women with anti-retroviral drugs to block transmission of the virus to children at birth. Johnson died on the 1st of June 2001 at age 12.

1 December, on World AIDS Day the South African government agrees to accept a $50 million donation of the drug fluconazole from Pfizer to treat a brain inflammation associated with AIDS. Recent approval is also given for nevirapine, a drug to reduce transmission of the AIDS virus to a fetus.

5 December, 7 people are killed at 2 polling stations during the second all-race municipal elections. The elections slashed the number of municipalities from 843 to 284 with 6 mega cities, each presided by a single mayor. The African National Congress (ANC) wins at least 59% of the contests.

2001

 18 March, the Department of Health declines the offer of a large donation of HIV test kits made by Guardian Scientific Africa Incorporated.

11 April, at least forty-three people are killed in a stampede at Ellis Park stadium, Johannesburg, at a football match between South Africa's two biggest teams, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Two hundred are also injured as people poured into a stadium that is already full to over capacity. Twenty-nine people dies inside the stadium and a further fourteen dies outside. Several children, including eleven year old Rosswinn Nation and thirteen year old Sphiwe Mpungose are under the fatalities.

April, 39 multi-national pharmaceutical companies halt a legal battle to stop South Africa importing generic Aids drugs. The decision is hailed as a victory for the world's poorest countries in their efforts to import cheaper drugs to combat the virus.

1 June, Nkosi Johnson (12), a victim of AIDS, dies. In 2000 he had spoken to international  delegates and implored South Africa to provide HIV-positive pregnant women with anti-retroviral drugs to block transmission of the virus to children at birth.

June, Members of the Pan African Congress begins to collect three US dollars from people who occupied of vacant land in Bredell for legal and other support. The government arrests people for trespassing and lay much of the blame on the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), which had offered legal and other support to the people who occupied Bredell.

10 July, The South African government orders the demolition of shacks on the occupied land in Bredell. Between one to two thousand shacks are expected to be destroyed.

30 July, Catholic bishops in South Africa denounce condoms as "immoral and misguided" weapons against AIDS.

30 August, Govan Mbeki, the father of President Thabo Mbeki, dies at the age of 91. He authored the book "South Africa: The Peasant’s Revolt" while imprisoned on Robben Island.

31 August - 8 September, The first World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) was held in Durban.

21 November, The South African Government unveils World AIDS Day 2001 campaign, " I care enough to act, do you?" which is derived from the international theme " I care, do you?"

26 November, Joe Modise (72), former defence minister (1994-1999), dies. He helped to establish Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, and served as South Africa's first black Minister of Defence from 1994 to 1999.28 November, The South African Government and the South African Broadcasting Centre have a newly strengthened partnership in recognition of the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

4 December, Marike de Klerk (64), former wife of former President F.W. de Klerk, is found stabbed and strangled in her luxury apartment near Cape Town. On December 5th South African police arrested Luyanda Mboniswa (21), a security guard.

December 14, 2001 the High Court ruled in favour of Treatment Action Campaign and ordered the Minister of Health to make nevirapine available in all public hospitals and clinics where testing and counselling facilities existed.  The High Court also ordered the Minister of Health to come up with a comprehensive programme to prevent or reduce MTCT and to submit reports to the court outlining that programme.

2002

25 March, Pretoria High Court ruled that the government must provide the anti-AIDS  drug nevirapine to all public hospitals with the capacity to use it.

11 April, Dr. Wouter Basson, a former head of the chemical and biological weapons program known as Project Coast is acquitted of 46 counts murder, fraud and drug dealing following a trial which took two and a half years.

25 April, Mark Shuttleworth becomes the first South African in space. He was a cosmonaut member of the crew of Russian’s Soyuz mission TM34 to the International Space Station.after a year of training in Star City, Russia.Shuttleworth spent eight days aboard the space station, where he conducted scientific experiments for South Africa. He returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TM-33 on  5 May 2002.

27 April, Steve Tshwete (64), security minister, died. He had been arrested in 1963 and sentenced to 15 years on Robben Island, where he spent time with Nelson Mandela.

1 June, the former South African Cricket Captain, Hansie Cronje (32), dies along with two pilots in a Hawker Siddeley 748 - 372 aircraft which crashes into the Outeniqua Mountains in the Southern Cape. Cronje was on his way home (Fancourt Estate) when he missed his scheduled flight at an Airport in Johannesburg on the evening of 31 May 2002

16 June, The Hector Pieterson Museum opens on Maseko Street in Soweto. The museum is named after one of the first casualties of the march through Soweto on 16 June 1976, when police were ordered to shoot at a crowd of demonstrating students.

25 Jun, South Africa's parliament passed a landmark bill, the Minerals and Petroleum Resource Development Act, 2002 aimed at transforming the country's mining industry by giving the government control of mineral rights.

5 July, South Africa's constitutional court  orders the provinces to scale up provision of nevirapine in public clinics and hospitals. The drugs help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV-Aids. Government argued the drug was too costly.

8 - 10 July, More than 30 African leaders gathered in Durban, South Africa to form the new African Union and to bid farewell to the Organisation of African Unity, a much-criticised regional body formed nearly four decades ago to usher the continent out of colonialism.

26 August - 4 September, The World Summit on Sustainable Development is successfully held in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province. It focuses the world's attention and direct action towards meeting difficult challenges, including improving people's lives and conserving natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security. President Thabo Mbeki open the summit with a call for coordinated international action to fight poverty and protect the world's natural resources.

10 September, the Constitutional Court rules that gay couples have the right to adopt children and laws that prevent them from doing so violate their constitutional rights.

30 October, A series of bomb blasts rocks the township of Soweto, South of Johannesburg, killing one person, ripping a hole in a mosque and damaging several railway stations and rail lines running into the nearby city of Johannesburg. The Boeremag (Afrikaner Power) was believed responsible.

November, 52 governments had ratifies and adopt the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Currently 74 governments, including the NGOs and the diamond industry are all committed and legally bound to the UN mandated process. Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is internationally recognized certification system for rough diamonds and establishing national import/export standards. This followed meetings that had begun in Kimberley, South Africa, in 2000. The scheme was fully implemented in August 2003.

2003

9 February - 23 March, The 2003 International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup was co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. This edition of the World Cup was the first to be played on African soil.In the final, Australia made 359 runs for the loss of two wickets, the largest ever total in a final, defeating India by 125 runs.

21 March, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) releases the last volumes of its final report. The Commission’s mandate was extended in 1998 to allow for the conclusion of the amnesty process. The Commission recommended that the government pay compensation totalling $348 million to more than 21,000 victims of apartheid-era abuses.

25 April, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is sentenced to four years in prison for her conviction on fraud and theft charges. She is convicted of 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft of money from a women's political league.

5 May, Walter Sisulu born in 1912, an anti-apartheid hero, passes away. He brought Nelson Mandela into the ANC and together with Oliver Tambo formed the ANC Youth League in 1944.

19 October, the South African Competitions Commission finds two giant pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline South Africa and BoChringer-Ingelheim guilty of abusing their documented prices for their anti-retroviral drugs.

19 November, South African government approves the long-awaited provision of free antiretroviral drugs in public hospitals. The cabinet instructs the Department of Health to proceed with implementation of the plan, which envisaged that within a year there would be at least one service point in every health district across the country, and within five years, one service point in every local municipality.

2004

9 January, President Thabo Mbeki signs the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act. It imposed a host of obligations on companies that wished to do business with the government.

14 April, South Africa holds its third democratic elections, marking a decade of democracy. A total of 20.6 million people registered to vote, making it 2 million more than the 1999 elections. Approximately 76% of the registered voters voted.  The African National Congress (ANC) received 67.7% of the votes.

23 April, President Thabo Mbeki is elected unopposed for a second term. He pledges to fight poverty and improve opportunities for all South Africans after his party scored its biggest victory yet in a decade of multiracial democracy.

27 April, Thabo Mbeki is inaugurated for a second term as president of South Africa on the same day the country celebrates its 10th anniversary as a democratic state at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

9 May, Brenda Fassie (39), South African singer and diva, dies in her sleep at Sunninghill Hospital.She dies after spending two weeks in a coma. Her death was reported to have been caused by cocaine.

15 May, the president of the Federation of International Football Association's (FIFA), Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, announced that South Africa would host the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The announcement was made in Zurich, where South Africa was represented by a delegation that included Nelson Mandela and Head of the Local Organizing Committee, Danny Jordan.

31 May, ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family receives a diplomatic welcome from South Africa, his new home in exile.

24 August, Mark Thatcher, the son of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, is arrested in Cape Town and charged with helping to finance a failed coup attempt in oil rich Equatorial Guinea. Thatcher was later fined three million rand and received a four-year suspended jail sentence.

7 November, South African athlete Hendrik Ramaala of wins the New York City (USA) Marathon in a time of 2:09:28; Paula Radcliffe wins the women's title in 2:23:10.

2005

6 January, former President Nelson Mandela announces that his son, Makgatho Mandela, had died of illness related to AIDS.

 7 March, the municipal council in Pretoria vote to rename the capital to Tshwane. The South Africa Geographical Names Council approved this change of name on the 26 May 2005.

11 March, President Thabo Mbeki nominates Pius Langa to become chief justice after incumbent Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson retires in May 2005. Pius Langa became the first black justice to hold the office.

9 April, In South Africa the federal council of the New National Party, the successor to the National Party, overwhelmingly approves the party's dissolution at a meeting in Johannesburg.

26 May, South Africa Geographical Names Council responsible for names of towns and cities approves plans to rename the capital of Pretoria as Tshwane.

2 June,Schabir Shaik  is convicted by retired Judge Hilary Squires at the Durban High Court on two counts of corruption and one of fraud relating to bribes he allegedly paid to influence Zuma in order to win government contracts for Shaik’s company, Nkobi Holdings.In his verdict Judge Squires announced that there was a corrupt relationship between Shaik and Zuma. Shaik served two years and four months of his fifteen year sentence before he was freed in 2009, allegedly on medical grounds.

10 June, Pius Langa (66), a former shirt factory worker is appointed South Africa’s Chief Justice's, marking the appointment of the first black South African to head a court system assailed by allegations of racism.

14 June, President Thabo Mbeki dismisses his deputy Jacob Zuma, after he was implicated in a corruption scandal, throwing wide open the question of who will become the next leader of South Africa. Mbeki appoints Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, his minister for minerals and energy, to replace Zuma.

27 September, Brett Kebble (41), a mining entrepreneur and cultural philanthropist, who has links with the African National Congress is found shot to death in Johannesburg. Jackie Selebi, South Africa’s chief of police, later admitted to being a friend to a confessed drug trafficker Glen Agliotti. Glen Agliotti was implicated in the murder. In 2010 a judge dropped murder charges against Agliotti.

30 September, Mark Scott-Crossley, a white farmer convicted in the murder of one of his former black workers, is sentenced to life in prison. Co-defendant Simon Mathebula is sentenced to 15 years. On 31 January 2004, Nelson Chisale (41), who had been fired two months earlier for apparently running a personal errand during work hours, was beaten with machetes, tied up, driven to a nearby lion reserve, and thrown over the fence.

4 November, South Africa's former deputy president Jacob Zuma is indicted on a corruption charges in a scandal involving his financial adviser Schabir Shaik and two French arms companies.

10 November, The Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) in Sutherland, the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, is inaugurated by the President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. SALT can gather more than 25 times as much light as any existing telescope in Africa, enabling it to detect a candle flame as far away as the moon. It is a 10-metre class optical telescope designed mainly for spectroscopy located close to the town of Sutherland in the semi-desert region of the Karoo, South Africa.

1 December, the Constitutional Court in South Africa rules it is unconstitutional to prevent gay people from marrying, paving the way for the country to become the first to legalize same-sex unions on a continent where homosexuality remains largely taboo.

December 6, former-deputy President Jacob Zuma is formally charged with rape, after a woman, who slept for a night at his residence, files charges with the police.

7 December, the African National Congress accepts the withdrawal of Jacob Zuma, its popular deputy president from leadership duties for the duration of his rape trial.

2006

4 February, Zoliswa Nkonyana (19), a lesbian, is stoned, kicked and stabbed to death just meters from her Cape Town home. In 2011 four men were convicted of her murder. On Feb 1, 2012, the 4 men were sentenced to 18 years in prison.

12 February, South Africa Holds the 2-day summit in Hammanskraal which is the 7th meeting of center-left leaders since the Progressive Governance Network was created in 1999 by Blair and former US president Bill Clinton. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and 5 other leaders pledges to push for a new global trade deal that will help poor countries.

4 March, after the Local Government elections on the 1st March 2006, the African National Congress (ANC) wins the majority of seats nationwide, with 66.3% of the vote while the Democratic Alliance (DA) takes 14.8% of the votes nationwide. Inkatha Freedom Party took 8.1% of the vote while the new party the Independent Democrats toakes 2.0.May 8, the court finds Jacob Zuma not guilty of rape, agreeing with Zuma that the sexual act in question was consensual paving his way to become the ANC president at the Polokwane Conference in 2007.Judge van der Merwe lambasted the accuser for lying to the court.

24 August, South Africa's cabinet gives the green light for a bill allowing gay marriages, which would make it the first country in Africa and fifth country in the world to accord homosexual couples the same rights as their straight counterparts to allow legal marriages between same-sex couples with the promulgation of the Civil Unions Act. On 30 November 2006, South Africa legalises same sex marriages.

31 October, Former South Africa prime minister and later State President from 1978 to 1989, Pieter Willem Botha, dies peacefully at the age of 90 at his house Die Anker near Wilderness in the Western Cape. He was found dead in bed.  In the 1980s he had resisted pressure to release Nelson Mandela from prison.

30 November, South Africa’s parliament approves new legislation recognising gay marriages. South Africa becomes the first country in Africa, and only the fifth in the world, to legalise same sex marriages.

2007

2 January, South Africa officially assumes its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council following elections held on 16 October 2006 in the United Nations General Assembly. South Africa is selected for the first time as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2007/08.

2 January, Oprah Winfrey opens a school for disadvantaged girls south of Johannesburg, fulfilling a promise she made to former President Nelson Mandela six years ago and giving more than 150 students a chance for a better future.

2 January, Marais Viljoen (91), former president of South Africa (1979-1984), passes away.Viljoen became the last of the ceremonial presidents of South Africa when he was succeeded in 1984 by Prime Minister P. W. Botha, who combined the offices in an executive presidency.

13 April, Health Ministers from various African countries meeting in South Africa adopts a health strategy to deal with the host of diseases on the continent, a dearth of health workers and failing health systems.

6 May, Helen Zille, mayor of Cape Town, was elects as leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) after former party leader Tony Leon stepped down.

10 May, South Africa's common law was rewritten to classify forced anal sex with a woman or girl, previously considered indecent assault, as rape. The statute called Sexual Offences Act was passed in December 2007. In common law, rape was defined by a male having unlawful and intentional sexual intercourse with a female without her consent. Sexual intercourse was defined exclusively as the penetration of the female sexual organs by the male.

 14 May, deputies and experts attend the Pan African Parliament in South Africa called for Western countries to help reverse the environmental damage to the continent. African Union Commission’s rural development and agriculture commission director Babagana Ahmadu present a report on the issue to the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand.

22 May, the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill, which is still under consideration, defines rape as any sexual penetration, including of the anus or mouth, without consent - irrespective of the victim or perpetrator's gender. The legislation was finally passed in December 2007.

8 August, President Thabo Mbeki dismisses Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge following reports that she had gone to Spain to attend an AIDS conference without his permission.

  17 August 2007, Former law and order minister Adriaan Vlok and former police chief Johan van der Merwe, together with former Major-General Christoffel Smith and colonels Gert Otto and Johannes Van Staden, appear in the Pretoria High Court on charges of attempting to murder anti-apartheid activist Rev Frank Chikane, by poison in 1989. They receive suspended sentences after pleading guilty to the charges. 29 August, a statue of Nelson Mandela is unveiled outside the Parliament Square in London by Richard Attenborough, Ken Livingstone, Wendy Woods (the widow of Donald Woods) and Gordon Brown, honouring the South African anti-apartheid campaigner as one of the great leaders of his era.

5 October, South African National Prosecuting Authority reveals it had obtained an arrest warrant for the South National Police Commissioner and Interpol President Jackie Selebi in charges related to his dealings with Glen Agliotti who has been charged with murder of Brett Kebble.

18 October, South African reggae star Lucky Dube (43) is shot and killed in an apparent carjacking attempt in Johannesburg's southern Rosettenville suburb.

20 October, The Rugby World Cup which began on 7 September hosted by France, with matches also being played in Wales and Scotland is won by South Africa after beating England 15-6 at State de France, Saint-Denis. South Africa becomes the second country to win the World Cup twice.

21October, police arrests five men in connection with the killing of Lucky Dube and subsequently the men were sentenced to life in prison for the botched carjacking and murder in 2009.

17 November, the G-20 summit begin talks in South Africa focusing on reforming the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

18 December, African National Congress delegates cast their votes for party leader. Jacob Zuma defeats President Thabo Mbeki by 2,329 votes to 1,505 at the party convention and moves into position to become president in 2009.

28 December, the National Prosecuting Authority serves Jacob Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the High Court on various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud.

21 December, The Freedom Park opens the doors of two of its elements, namely Isivivane and S'khumbuto, to the nation.S'khumbuto bears testimony to the various conflicts that shaped present-day South Africa and remembers those who died during these struggles while Isivivane is the spiritual resting place of those who played a role in the freedom and liberation of South Africa.Freedom Park is a space where South Africans and visitors to the country can reflect on the past, and is an inspiration for the future. It is regarded as one of the most ambitious heritage projects the government has invested in; an attempt to encapsulate the heart and soul of South Africa in a physical space.

December, South Africa's Parliament passes the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act, which declares the Northern Cape an "astronomy advantage area", giving the Minister of Science and Technology powers to protect the area from future radio interference.

2008

12 January, South African National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi is placed on extended leave, a day after the National ProsecutingAuthority announced plans to charge him with corruption over his links to a murder suspect.

13 January, South African National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi  resigns as president of Interpol and planned to fight corruption allegations.The indictment by the National Prosecuting Authority shows that between 2000 to 2005 Selebi received at least R1,2-million from Agliotti and his associates, including R30 000 from Agliotti a day or two after magnate Brett Kebble was killed.

May 11, a series of attacks against mainly foreign nationals starts in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, Gauteng.  This is rapidly followed by others within northern Johannesburg. The spread of xenophobic attacks escalates to settlements in Ekurhuleni and some parts of central Johannesburg, including Randfontein, western Gauteng.  On 17 May, the spread of xenophobic attacks reached Durban, KwaZulu”Natal resulting in the displacement of some 2,000 foreign nationals. The Western Cape also experienced attacks against foreign nationals starting on 22 May 2008 in DuNoon. Within three weeks of violence 62 people including South Africans were killed.

12 May, The United States of America (USA) Supreme Court affirms a lower court ruling that multinational companies can be sued in a USA court for allegedly aiding and abetting the former apartheid government in South Africa.

7 July, The governor of the South African Reserve Bank Tito Mboweni announces that Five million bi-metallic coins featuring a smiling Nelson Mandela have already been minted and is to be released into circulation as part of Mandela’s official 90th birthday celebration on Friday, July 18.

15 August,  South African authorities in Gauteng begins closing camps that have housed thousands of foreigners displaced by xenophobic violence, in a move that has drawn concern they could face more attacks when they return home.

15 August, South Africa's Constitutional Court has instructs officials in Gauteng province not to dismantle six temporary shelters housing foreigners forced to flee their homes by xenophobic violence, pending a ruling on the issue.

21 August, A statue of former President Nelson Mandela is unveiled at the Groot Drakenstein prison, where he spent a part of his imprisonment, in Paarl near Cape Town.

28 July, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, following approval by the General Assembly, appoints Navanethem (Navi) Pillay as the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. Judge Pillay's nomination came at the end of an extensive selection process, which included consultations with Member States and with the broad-based non-governmental organization community.

12 September, The Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson, holds, inter alia, that the corruption charges are unlawful on procedural grounds. President Thabo Mbekiapplied to the Constitutional court to appeal the Nicholson verdict which the NPA opposed. Jacob Zumaalso stated that he opposed Mbeki’s application.

21 September, Thabo Mbekihands his resignation letter to the former speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete and announces his resignation as President of South Africa on television nine months before his second term of office expired.

25 September, South Africa's parliament elects Kgalema Motlanthe, former trade unionist, freedom fighter and deputy leader of the ruling ANC, as interim president of a country when Mbeki leaves office.

23 October, South Africa’s National Assembly approves new legislation to disband the Scorpions investigating unit and incorporate it into the police force.

9 November, South African singer Miriam Makeba dies at the age of 76 after a 30 minute performance for Roberto Saviano in the Italian town of Caserta.Makeba's music transcended South African borders and entered the global stage.

16 December, The Congress of the People (COPE) is founded in Bloemfontein. It is a new South African political party formed by former members of the African National Congress (ANC) The party was founded by former ANC members Mosiuoa Lekota, Mbhazima Shilowa and Mluleki George to contest the 2009 general election.

2009

1 January, Helen Suzman (91), South African anti-apartheid activist, dies peacefully in her home in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. She won international acclaim as one of the few white lawmakers to fight against the injustices of racist rule and nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

30 January, President Kgalema Motlanthe signed legislation that disbands the country's elite anti-crime investigating unit, known as the Scorpions. The unit known as Hawks becomes part of the standard police force.

6 April, The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) drops corruption charges against Jacob Zuma, saying the case had been manipulated for political reasons and clearing the way for him to become the next president without the looming threat of a trial.

22 April, South Africans votes on the fourth democratic general elections. The African National Congress took 65.9 percent of the nearly 18 million votes cast, failing to get its coveted two-thirds of the seats in the 400-member parliament. The Democratic Alliance (DA) won nearly 17% and 17 seats, while the new Congress of the People obtained 7% of the vote. The Inkatha Freedom Party got 5% of the vote winning 18 seats.

6 May, South Africa's parliament elects Jacob Zuma as the country's president. Zuma won 277 votes in the 400 member National Assembly.

9 May, Jacob Zuma is sworn in as president of the Republic of South Africa in Union Building in Pretoria.

18 July, former President Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday, also marks the inaugural Mandela Day. After the success of the first Mandela Day, the United Nations adopts it as a day for global humanitarian action calling it “Nelson Mandela International Day”.

August, the construction of the MeerKAT Precursor Array (also known as KAT-7) begins on the Northern Cape. The 7-dish array was a precursor for MeerKAT which will consist of 64 dishes of 13.5 meters in diameter, the most powerful in the southern hemisphere.

1 December,President Jacob Zuma announces on World AIDS Day in Pretoria that all HIV-positive babies under the age of one will receive anti-retroviral drugs as part of a huge expansion of treatment.

12 December, Miss World 2009, the 59th edition of the Miss World pageant, is held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.Kaiane Aldorino from Gibraltar was crowned the new Miss World.112 contestants from all over the world competed for the crown, marking the biggest turnout in the pageant's history.

16 December, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (69) dies at the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre and Medi-Clinic ICU. Her doctor, Professor Jeff Wing, announced that she died from complications related to her liver transplant in 2007.

30 December, last South African soldiers who are in Burundi from the African Union Special Task Force still operating in Burundi completed their mission and left the country to return to South Africa.

2010

3 April, Eugene Terre’blanche (69), the leader of the right wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), is attacked and killed by a 21-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy who worked for him on his farm outside Ventersdorp, about 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, following a dispute over pay. The alleged attackers were arrested and charged with murder.

8 April, the World Bank agrees to lend South Africa $3.75 billion to assist with several energy projects, with $3.05 billion allocated for completion of the Medupi Power Station. The approval of the World Bank loan draws criticism for supporting increased global emissions of greenhouse gases

14 May, Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert (70), academic, political analyst and anti-apartheid activist in the apartheid-era Parliament, dies at his home in Johannesburg. The former South African legislator helped chart a way out of apartheid by leading fellow whites into talks with exiled black South African leaders.

11 June, The Soccer World Cup starts in a packed Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg with hosts South Africa taking on Mexico. Host nation South Africa got the continent's first World Cup off to a thrilling start by scoring the tournament's opening goal in a spirited 1-1 draw with Mexico. Approximately 85,000 spectators attended the match while millions watched on the screens all over the country.

22 June, despite a strong performance in beating France 2-1, the hosts, South Africa is knocked out of the competition at the group stage

6 July, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announces that pupils will have the option of learning in their mother language in their first three years of schooling. Children were currently taught either in English or Afrikaans, both languages inherited from the eras of colonialism and apartheid.

11 July,  President Jacob Zuma address leaders from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Togo, Mozambique, the Netherlands and neighboring Zimbabwe at an Education Summit in Pretoria, before inviting them to join him at the World Cup final. The summit was the culmination of 1GOAL, a campaign supported by football's governing body FIFA to use the attention the World Cup commands to publicize the need to get more children into school.

11 July, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final takes place at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, to determine the winner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Spain is crowned the winner after defeating the Netherlands 1-0.

29 July, President Jacob Zuma announce that South Africa would stop recognizing half the nation's traditional kings and queens, dismissing them as artificial creations of the apartheid regime. Leaders of the six kingships not recognised areBatlokwa ba Mota: King Lekunutu Cavandish Mota, Free State; Bakwena baMopeli: King Thokwane Mopeli, Free State; AmaRharhabe: King Bangilizwe Maxhobayakhawuleza Sandile, Eastern Cape; Amampondo ase-Nyandeni: King Ndamase kaNdamase, Eastern Cape;  Ndzundza Mabhoko : King Mbusi Mahlangu, Mpumalanga, and AbaThembu base-Rhode in the Eastern Cape.

3 August, Former National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi (60) is sentenced to 15 years in prison on corruption related charges after he was found guilty on 03 July 2009 of receiving bribes to turn a blind eye to drug trafficking, making him one of one of the most senior officials to be convicted of corruption in the democratic era.

2 September, South Africa’s Home Affairs department announces the withdrawal of the  April, 2009, special status granted to illegal Zimbabwean immigrants who fled their country's economic meltdown and political violence. The government intends to begin deportations after the 31st December 2010.

12 October, At the United Nations South Africa, Colombia, Germany, India and Portugal were elected to join the other powers on the UN Security Council for two years, starting in January.

24 December, South Africa is formally invited to become a member of BRICS, an acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies playing a key role in the world development platforms known as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

2011

23 March, South Africa’s University of Johannesburg votes to sever ties with Israel's Ben-Gurion University, acting on calls from hundreds of South African academics and intellectuals for an academic boycott in a growing campaign to isolate Israel for its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. It ends a 25-year relationship on April 1, but professors can continue to work individually with Ben-Gurion.

27 March, South Africa's government Communication department announce that the government is launching a newspaper to rectify media censorship of government information. Its bimonthly magazine will launch next month as a 20-page, free, monthly newspaper called Vuk'uzenzele, which means "Wake up and do it for yourself" in Zulu.

31 March, Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli hands himself over to police and briefly appears in court after a warrant for his arrest in connection with the 1999 murder of Oupa Ramogibe is issued.

18 May, South Africa hold local government and municipal elections in 278 municipalities. With 57.6% voter turn-out, the biggest ever since 1994, the African National Congress won the highest number of seats and councils, 198 councils and 5 633 seats constituting 62% of the vote. The Democratic Alliance came second with 18 councils, 1 555 seats and 23.9%.

31 May, the South African Human Rights Commission finds South Africa's ambassador to Uganda, Jon Qwelane guilty of hate speech for an anti-gay column he wrote before his appointment. Jon Qwelane is ordered to apologize and pay a fine of R100,000 that the Human Rights Commission will donate to a gay rights organization.

June 2, African National Congress (ANC) stalwart, Albertina Sisulu, a to former ANC Secretary, Walter Sisulu’s wife passes away at her Linden home, Johannesburg at the age of 92.

18 July, Former South African General and Defence Minister Magnus Malan (81) dies at his homein Durbanville, Cape Town.

11 August, the government announces it has approved a National Health Insurance proposal aimed at overhauling dysfunctional public health facilities that serve more than 80 percent of the population. The National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme is to be piloted in 10 areas next year and rolled out nationally over 14 years.

2 August, the South African government agrees to a R2.5 billion loan to neighbouring Swaziland, just one quarter of the amount sought by King Mswati III to avoid his government's financial collapse

9 September, a Pretoria regional magistrate sentences Robert McBride to two years imprisonment for driving under the influence of alcohol and an effective three years imprisonment for attempting to obstruct the course of justice.

12 September, The Equality Court convicts Julius Malema (30), of hate speech and in effect bans the singing of the song, "Shoot the Boer.” The court found he has no right to sing "Shoot the Boer," a song some whites find offensive. The next day the ANC said it would appeal the decision.

21 September, Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli hands himself over to authorities and appears in the Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on fraud and corruption charges. It is alleged that he used a crime intelligence fund to pay salaries and buy houses and cars for girlfriends and their relatives as well as his own relatives, who had been registered as covert intelligence operatives. He is released on a warning.

9 – 10 October, South Africa conducts its third census In October 2012, Statistics South Africa releases the results of its 2011Census, the third official census since the advent of democracy. It reveals that between the first and the most recent post-apartheid census the population grew by just over 11 million to 51.7 million and 79.6% of the population is black.

7 October, in a case which raises concerns about “corrective rape” targeting, four men are convicted of murdering Zoliswa Nkonyana (19) who was lesbian in Cape Town. In 2006 the men stoned, kicked and stabbed to death just meters (yards) from her home.

24 October, President Jacob Zuma announces the suspension of the National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele pending the outcome of an investigation into "unlawful" police lease agreements.

26 October, Palestine’s bid to become a full member of the UN has receives the full backing of South Africa. South Africa reaffirms its conviction that Palestine is a state that Palestine is a peace-loving state, and that Palestine is willing and able to carry out its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.

10 November- African National Congress suspends its youth leader Julius Malema for five years after a disciplinary committee found him guilty of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing divisions.

22 November, the South African National Assembly approves the Protection of State Information Bill despite widespread opposition and question marks around its constitutionality.The outcome of the vote was 229 in favour and 107 against in the 400-member House. There were two abstentions.

22 November, Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa announces South Africa's capital Pretoria will be renamed Tshwane by the end of 2012, with main roads also given names of anti-apartheid leaders.

28 November - 9 December, the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is successfully held in Durban. The conference agrees to establish a legally binding deal comprising all countries by 2015, which was to take effect in 2020.

1December, President Jacob Zuma unveils a plan to halve the number of HIV infections over the next five years. The new plan calls for stepped-up prevention efforts to halve new infections of HIV and tuberculosis by 2016 and to put 80 percent of eligible patients on anti-retroviral drugs to fight AIDS.

7 December, an investigation commissioned by the South African government into the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq clears Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe of corruption, a report released Wednesday said. The probe was ordered by then president Thabo Mbeki in 2006, into what has become known in the country as "Oilgate", to look at allegations of kickbacks sourced by senior members of the ruling party from the State Oil Marketing Organisation of Iraq (SOMO).

14 December, the Specialised Commercial Crime Court provisionally withdraw fraud and corruption charges against Richard Mdluli with no reason given. It later emerges that advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, national head of the specialised commercial crimes unit, instructed prosecutors Sibongile Mzinyathi and Glynnis Breytenbach to withdraw the charges, arguing that the ­police and NPA had no authority to investigate intelligence matters and that the case should be handled by inspector-general of intelligence Faith Radebe.

20 December, African National Congress branch in Limpopo elects Julius Malema to a senior African National Congress post. An ANC disciplinary panel in November found Malema guilty of bringing the party into disrepute, and expelled him for five years. Malema has appealed the suspension and is allowed to stay in the party pending a decision.

2012

7 February, convictions handed down by the National Disciplinary Committee to African National Congress Youth League leaders are upheld by an appeals committee and Julius Malema was given an option to argue for a lighter sentence. As a result Malema was stripped of his title and party membership

11 February, South African Reserve Bank launches a new line of bank notes bearing the image of its first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela (93), on the 22nd anniversary of his release from prison.

20 March, South Africa’s Supreme Court rules in favour of the Democratic Alliance that the National Prosecuting Authority must allow a review of a 2009 decision by its head Mokotedi Mpshe who dropped charges of corruption, racketeering, tax-evasion and money laundering against President Jacob Zuma.

4 April, the National Disciplinary Committee to African National Congress on suspended its youth leader Julius Malema with immediate effect, banning him from all party activities. The temporary and immediate suspension of Malema comes into effect on 4 April 2012.

22 May, Chris Mahlangu, one of the two accused black farmworkers in the April 3, 2010, murder Eugene Terre’blanche, the leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) is convicted. Co-accused Patrick Ndlovu, who was a minor at the time of the crime, is found guilty only of house-breaking, and not guilty on charges of murder and robbery.

25 May, the Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation announced that the SKA telescope would be split between Africa and Australia, with a majority share of the telescope destined to be built in South Africa. All of the Phase 2 dishes destined will be built in Africa.

June 12, General Bheki Cele was sacked by President Jacob Zuma for alleged offences of fraud and corruption in handling of leases for police headquarters that were signed at far above market rates. General Cele was found guilty for maladministration and found unfit for the office of National Police Commissioner by Justice Jake Moloi’s independent investigation Inquiry in May 2011.

15 July, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is elected by the African Union Commission as its chairperson, making her the first woman and South African to lead the organisation. She took office on 15 October 2012.

28 July - Members of the white extremist group found guilty of high treason and plotting to kill Nelson Mandela and trying to overthrow government. The "Boeremag" organisation had planned a right-wing coup in 2002 to overthrow the post-apartheid government by creating chaos in the country.

August-October - Police open fire on workers at a platinum mine in Marikana, killing at least 34 people, and leaving at least 78 injured and arresting more than 200 others. Prosecutors drop murder charges in September against 270 miners after a public outcry, and the government sets up a judicial commission of inquiry in October.

26 September - Former ANC youth leader Julius Malema is charged with money laundering over a government tender awarded to a company partly owned by his family trust. Malema says the case is a politically motivated attempt to silence his campaign against President Jacob Zuma, in particular over the Marikana shootings.

5 October - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) fires 12,000 striking South African miners after a protracted strike over wages.

15 October, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma takes charge of the African Union, the first woman to assume its top leadership.

6 November, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) issued a new series of banknotes in South Africa. The new R10, R20, R50, R100, and R200 banknotes feature a portrait of former president Nelson Mandela on front, while the back of the notes have maintained the “Big Five” animal images that appear on current banknotes. The current and the new banknotes are the same size.

9 November, Bulldozers accompanied by South Africa Police Services destroy homes in Lenasia Township in Johannesburg that authorities say were constructed on illegally sold land, despite efforts by protesters to stop the demolition.

16 December, four white men are arrested and face treason and terrorism charges over an alleged plot that include plans to attack the African National Congress political party conference in Mangaung, North West and kill President Jacob Zuma and others.

18 December, Prosecutors identified the four men arrested for treason and terrorism as Mark Trollip, Johan Prinsloo, Martin Keevy and Hein Boonzaaier during a court hearing in Bloemfontein.

 

2013

 6 January, South Africa government authorises the deployment of up to 400 South African soldiers to the Central African Republic (CAR) as part of a military co-operation agreement between the two countries to help the country's army as it faces a threat from a coalition of rebel groups. Neighbouring countries Cameroon, Gabon and Republic of Congo sent about 120 troops each to help stabilise the country confronted by the rebellion.

19 January - 10 February, South Africa hosts the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, also known as the Orange Africa Cup of Nations for the second time after the original host Libya was stripped of its hosting rights due to the Libyan civil war. It was the 29th Africa Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF)

5 February, South African police arrest 19 suspected Congolese rebels, including two senior members of the M23 group, on suspicion of running an illegal military operation.The group was arrested in Limpopo after an investigation by a crime intelligence unit.

8 February, Police in South Africa arrested the Etienne Kabila as "ringleader" of a group of 19 Congolese rebels who face charges of allegedly plotting a war to unseat Congolese President Joseph Kabila.

Feb 14, double-amputee Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius is later arrested on a charge of murder. He made history at the London 2012 Olympics when he became the first amputee sprinter to compete in the able-bodied Games, running in the 400m and 4x400m relay.

Feb 18, Former Vice-Chancellor of University of Cape Town Dr Mamphela Ramphele, an academic and co-founder of the nation’s Black Conscious Movement, announces the creation of Agang, a new political party "to build the South Africa of our dreams."

6 March, Dirk Coetzee (57), a former commander of the Vlakplaas covert police unit during apartheid-era in South Africa, dies at home in Pretoria. Coetzee had fled South Africa in 1989. He pledged allegiance to the ANC in exile and told the Harms Commission in Britain how he had watched his colleagues murder the student activist Sizwe Kondile and the human rights lawyer Griffiths Mxenge. He returned in 1993 and was a witness at the trial of former police Colonel Eugene de Kock. In testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Coetzee confessed to plotting the 1981 murder of attorney Griffiths Mxenge.

25 March, The presidency announces that 13 South African soldiers were killed and 27 wounded in fighting in the Central African Republic.

27 March, Leaders of the five BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), meeting in Durban, kwaZulu-Natal, agree to create a development bank to help fund their $4.5 trillion infrastructure programs.

2 April, South Africa withdraws most of its 200 troops in the Central African Republic where 13 soldiers are killed when rebels attacked their base.

25 April - The National Assembly voted to pass the Protection of State Information Bill by an overwhelming majority of 190 votes to 75.

30 April, A chartered plane carrying about 200 guests from India to attend Gupta’s family wedding was allowed to land at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, bypassing customs procedures. It was later flown to a civilian O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Five South African officials, including police and military commanders, were soon suspended over the incident.

19 August, Pretoria High court formally indicted Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius on charges of premeditated murder and illegal possession of ammunition in the Valentine’s Day death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. His will begin on March 3, 2014.

13 October, Julius Malema, former head of the ANC’s Youth League, launches his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in Marikana. Malema formed the EFF following his expulsion from the governing African National Congress (ANC) in 2012 after a bitter fall-out with President Jacob Zuma.

29 October, Mike du Toit, along with four others, was sentenced to 35 years in jail the for his role as a mastermind behind the 2002 right-wing extremist plot to kill former President Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country. The rest of the 20 militia members on trial received 10 and 30 years sentences depending on their degree of involvement in the plot. The judge suspended 10 years of the sentences for some and took into account the time behind bars during the trial.

2013 South Africa observes the centenary of the Natives Land Act of 1913. The Act became law on 19 June 1913, restricting black people from buying or occupying land in South Africa except as employees.

5 December, South Africa’s first democratic elected President Nelson Mandela passes away. He was buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on the 15th December 2013.

16 December, A statue of Nelson Mandela is unveiled outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria, a day after his funeral. It was later discovered that sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren had added a small rabbit inside one ear as a discreet signature on their work. Officials soon ordered the rabbit removed.

2014

11 January - 1 February, The 2014 African Nations Championship was the third African Nations Championship football tournament hosted in South Africa.

27 January, President Jacob Zuma signs a “DNA Act” to match more sexual offenders, including many who break the law more than once, with their crimes, exonerate the wrongly accused and crack cold cases.

28 January, South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance party headed by Helen Zille announces its intention to merge with the smaller Agang group to jointly challenge the ruling ANC party. Dr Mamphela Ramphele is supposed to stand as the presidential candidate of the new coalition. But this plan was abandoned shortly after a few days.

11February, South Africa issues a black-and-white commemorative stamp to celebrate the life and legacy of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela who died last year.

19 March, the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela finds that some of the R246 million taxpayer-funded refurbishments at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence are unlawful and orderes him to repay part of the cost.

7 May, South Africans votes in the fifth democratic and first "Born Free" election. The African National Congress (ANC) is officially declared the winner of South Africa's 2014 general election on 12 May, after securing 62.15% of the national vote. The Democratic Alliance increases its support nationally to 22.23% followed by newcomers the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which emerged as the third most popular party after the ANC and DA, with 6.35% of the vote.

24 May, President Jacob Zuma is sworn in at the start of his second term at the Union Buildings.

21 June, Albie Sachs (79), the South African judge who survived a bomb attack and rose to fame for his role in the anti-apartheid struggle, is awarded the Tang Prize, touted as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize, for his contributions to human rights and justice.

13 July, Nadine Gordimer (90), a Nobel literature laureate (1991) and anti-apartheid activist, dies at home in Johannesburg. Her work includes 15 novels and volumes of short stories that explored the complex of relationships and racial conflict in apartheid-era South Africa.

28 August, South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeals orders the National Prosecuting Authority to release taped phone conversations about corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

5 September, A representative of the Dalai Lama said South Africa has denied a visa to the Nobel peace Prize laureate. The Tibetan spiritual leader had hoped to attend a Nobel peace conference in Cape Town during October. This was South Africa’s 3rd denial in five years. The Government denied any wrong-doing.

 2 October, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille announces that a planned summit of Nobel peace laureates had been "suspended", citing the government's "intransigence" in not providing a visa to the Dalai Lama.

21 October, In South Africa Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb 13, 2013.

24 October, Mbulaheni Mulaudzi a South African middle distance runner, and the 2009 world champion in the men's 800 metres died in a car crash at the age of 34. He was en-route to an Athletics South Africa athletics meeting when his car overturned.Mulaudzi has been laid to rest on the 1st November at his home village of Muduluni in Limpopo's Mhado-Louis Trichardt area

24 October, Phindile Mwelase, 31, a Light middleweight female professional boxer died following a knockout punch Liz Butler, that put her in a coma on October 10.Mwelase was laid to rest on the 1st of November at her home town, Ladysmith in Emashiswelwaneni, KwaZulu-Natal.

26 October, In South Africa Senzo Meyiwa (27), goalkeeper and captain national soccer team Bafana Bafana, was killed in an apparent robbery when gunmen entered a house he was visiting in Vosloorus township near Johannesburg. He was buried on the 1st November at the Heroes Acre cemetery in Chesterville, KwaZulu-Natal Province.

5 December, marks the first anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 at his Houghton home in Johannesburg.

 

Last updated : 21-Apr-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 17-Apr-2014