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South Africa

Yearbook 2018

South Africa. According to Countryaah.com, South Africa's corruption-accused President Jacob Zuma was pressed with growing demands for resignation, even from his own party ANC (African National Congress). When a distrust vote against Zuma was announced in parliament in February, and the ANC threatened to trap him, Zuma resigned.

2018 South Africa

Parliament appointed Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa as new president. The decision was welcomed in wide circles, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange went up and the currency rand reached the highest value in three years.

Ramaphosa promised to fight corruption and raised the issue of transferring land from white landowners to black South Africans. Parliament voted to allow this to happen without compensation to the old owners. A committee was commissioned to work on the issue.

Two former ministers dismissed by Zuma reappeared in Ramaphosa's new government on heavy positions as finance minister and minister of state enterprises. New Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, daughter of ANC legends Walter and Albertina Sisulu.

Ramaphosa decided to rescind a decision from Zuma's time that had weakened the evidence in corruption trials. It was seen as a sign of the new president's willingness to deal with corruption.

Jacob Zuma was indicted in April on 16 counts including fraud, blackmail and money laundering from the time before he became president. Prosecution had been filed as early as 2005 but has since been closed down. The trial was expected to last for several months.

In April Winnie passed away Madikizela-Mandela, formerly married to Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid activist. She was hailed within the ANC as a freedom hero but also accused of crimes; among other things, she was convicted of involvement in the murder of a teenage boy. About 40,000 people attended her funeral in Soweto.

In the north, protests erupted against a lack of jobs, housing and health care, demanding the departure of a corrupt politician. Ramaphosa interrupted a visit to London to try to create calm since police used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters who set fire to cars and looted shops.

The protests spread to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and several cities where thousands of union members rejected the government's proposed minimum wage. They supported the introduction of the minimum wage but described the proposed 20 rand (about SEK 14) per hour as starvation pay and demanded monthly salary of 12,500 rand (about SEK 8,750), that is, three times as much.

In August, Ramaphosa announced the ANC's plan to change the constitution so that land could be transferred without compensation. Voluntary sales and purchases had been slow, and the ANC was pressured by the radical opposition party EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) to hasten the redistribution.

The issue was politically sensitive, and the white farmers' organization thought that seizing land without compensation would have disastrous consequences. They referred, among other things, to what happened in Zimbabwe and emphasized that investors from outside are turning away from countries that do not protect ownership.

In September, it became clear that South Africa's economy was declining for the first time since the financial crisis in 2009. GDP fell during the second quarter of the year, a hard blow to Ramaphosa's plan to boost the economy to help reduce unemployment by about 27%. In agriculture, production had fallen by almost a third in the second quarter.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene resigned in October after it was discovered that he had met with the corruption-accused Gupta family. Nene was succeeded by former central bank governor Tito Mboweni, which caused the financial market to react positively. Three Gupta stone-rich brothers have been accused of using their friendship with President Zuma to seize state funds and influence the appointment of ministers.

President Ramaphosa wrote in November under the National Minimum Wage Act. The level will be 20 rand per hour, which corresponds to 3,500 rand per month, approximately SEK 2,275.

Statistics during the year showed that the number of murders in the country increased by more than 7% in one year, the largest increase since the abolition of the apartheid regime. The figures also showed an increase in sexual offenses, most rapes.

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