The South Africa which was born in 1910 included people from Africa, Europe and Asia, and the system of government was modeled on the common law of the Netherlands, supplemented by modern English law. In many respects, this new country was a compromise. It would acquire two official languages (Afrikaans and English); three capitals (an administrative capital, Pretoria; a legislative capital, Cape Town and a judicial capital, Bloemfontein); and the symbols of the state would reflect the union of Afrikaans and English-speaking whites. While the new state had a democratic form, with a few controversial exceptions, only whites enjoyed the vote. For virtually the whole of its history therefore, politics has been practiced on a 'whites only' basis. Therefore, when looking closely at the system and attempting to place the government in a category, I would create a new category summarized as a selectively democratic regime.
White interests obviously shaped public policy. Spending on areas like education, pensions, health and housing, has greatly favored whites, who were clearly the major beneficiaries of the system. In addition, discrimination and injustice inflicted upon black South Africans have largely shaped the present political system. Black South Africans played virtually no part in the founding of the Union of South Africa. This was to be the start of a long and inspiring resistance to minority political rule that culminated some 85 years later in South Africa's first truly democratic elections. Political protest began in 1909 when a delegation of blacks unsuccessfully petitioned the British parliament against approving the country's independence constitution w...
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...lation Registration Act of 1950, which had made it obligatory for every citizen to be classified into one of nine racial groups. As a consequence of these moves, the majority of international trade sanctions were abolished by 1993 and, in February of the same year, Mandela and de Klerk agreed to the formation of a government of national unity, after free nonracial elections. The elections were held in April 1994, with the ANC winning 62% of the vote and Mandela becoming president.
South Africa could probably be classified as a democracy from 1910 through 1994, however, when the elections were held in 1994 South Africa became a true democracy. The whites of South Africa could maybe be called an authoritarian group, but among them there was a democratic government, it was the other 86% of the population that was without a role in the government of their country.
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