Accession Number : ADA500945
Title : South Africa: Current Issues and U.S. Relations
Descriptive Note : Congressional rept.
Corporate Author : LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Personal Author(s) : Ploch, Lauren
Report Date : 20 May 2009
Pagination or Media Count : 28
Abstract : Over a decade after the South African majority gained its independence from white minority rule under apartheid, the Republic of South Africa is firmly established as a regional power. With Africa's largest GDP, a diverse economy, and a government that has played an active role in the promotion of regional peace and stability, South Africa is poised to have a substantial impact on the economic and political future of Africa. The country is twice the size of Texas and has a population of almost 50 million, of which about 80% is African and 10% white. Its political system is regarded as stable, but South Africa faces serious long-term challenges arising from poverty, unemployment, and AIDS. President Thabo Mbeki resigned in September 2008 and was replaced by interim President Kgalema Motlanthe. South Africa's most recent elections were held on April 22, 2009. The African National Congress (ANC), which led the struggle against apartheid, has dominated the political scene since the end of apartheid and continues to enjoy widespread support. The party fell short of retaining its two-thirds majority in the parliament during the 2009 elections, however. Inter-party divisions, which led to Mbeki's resignation in 2008, resulted in the formation of a breakaway party, the Congress of the People (COPE). COPE received 7.4% of the 2009 vote, picking up 30 seats in the 400-seat parliament. The ANC now holds 264 seats, while the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, holds 67 seats and gained control of one of the country's nine provinces. Jacob Zuma, elected as head of the ANC in December 2007, weathered a series of corruption charges and was chosen by the ANC-dominated parliament after the 2009 national elections to serve as South Africa's' newest President. Motlanthe now serves as Deputy President. Bilateral relations are cordial, however, the U.S. and South African administrations have expressed differences with respect to the situations in Zimbabwe, Iran, and Iraq.
Descriptors : *UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT , *ZIMBABWE , *ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT , *POLITICAL ALLIANCES , *INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS , *GOVERNMENT(FOREIGN) , *SOUTH AFRICA , IRAN , POLITICAL PARTIES , ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME , UNEMPLOYMENT , ELECTIONS , CRIMINAL CORRUPTION , COUNTERTERRORISM , LAND USE , UNITED NATIONS , INTERNATIONAL TRADE , ELECTRIC POWER PRODUCTION , IMMIGRATION , IRAQ , POLICIES
Subject Categories : Economics and Cost Analysis
Government and Political Science
Sociology and Law
Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE