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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mediation in the South African transition: a critical review of developments, problems and potentials
Author:Anstey, MarkISNI
Periodical:Genève-Afrique: acta africana
Geographic term:South Africa
Subject:political change
Abstract:During the 1970s the apartheid system in South Africa stalled as the contradictions between apartheid policy and economic growth became evident. During the 1980s a massive campaign was mounted against the system and a no-win situation developed. From 1990 onwards, concessions were made by the government of F.W. De Klerk which were not made conditional on reciprocal concessions, and the deadlock was broken, paving the way for negotiations between the parties. The critical task for 'softliners' engaged in a change process is to find a way for the transition to continue which precludes anarchic breakdown, a right-wing coup or a reversion to the status quo by hardliners. Commonly parties to negotiated transitions attempt to stabilize the change process by means of pacts, typically of a political, military and economic nature. The author describes the process of pact making in South Africa, which has been accompanied by a rise in violence which both energizes and threatens the change process. He goes on to examine the role mediation plays at different levels in South African society, making a distinction between labour mediation and community mediation. The latter has started to take place under the National Peace Accord signed on 14th September 1991 by the government, the ANC/SACP, the IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party) and 19 other political parties. Mediation carries the task of assisting parties to move from a culture of violence to one of democratic exchange. Bibliogr.