South Africans voted Wednesday in presidential and parliamentary elections, with signs of a relatively low turnout and voters saying they were disillusioned by widespread corruption and unemployment. Despite the demise of apartheid 25 years ago, South Africa remains divided by economic inequality. The African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela that has been in power since 1994, is likely to win a majority but it will face a difficult challenge to match the 62% of the vote it got five years ago.
More than 60 people have been killed in southern and eastern parts of South Africa after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides. Rescue workers were digging through collapsed homes and other buildings in coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, local officials said. The region has been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
At least 13 people were killed and 16 injured when a church in eastern South Africa partially collapsed during a pre-Easter service, local news agency ANA reported on Friday. Six of those injured were seriously hurt in the incident, which occurred at a Pentecostal church in Diangubo, in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal. According to local reports the area went through a storm and heavy winds, which are believed to have resulted in the incident.
South Africa’s finance minister Nhlanhla Nene resigned on Tuesday after what the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called ‘errors of judgment.’ Controversy surrounded Nene due to his testimony in a graft inquiry. Nene admitted meeting members of the Gupta family accused of corruption. Nene was immediately replaced by former South African Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni.
After a formal request from the African National Congress party, South African President Jacob Zuma delivered an address to the nation, agreeing to resign from his position, Wednesday night, ending a period of scandal and mismanagement which threatened the undermining of Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement. Cyril Ramaphosa is now the country’s acting leader.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa cut his visit to London short on Thursday to return home to address unrest in the North West province where demonstrators clashed violently with police. Protesters demanded the resignation of provincial Premier Supra Mahumapelo, a member of Ramaphosa’s leading African National Congress. The ‘service delivery protests’ have intensified over years.
After being trapped underground for more than 24 hours after a storm-caused power outage, more than 950 gold miners in South Africa were safely evacuated, Friday morning. The Sibanye-Stillwater company, which manages the mine, said food and water were delivered to miners while trapped. All evacuated miners will receive medical examinations and trauma counseling.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, known as ‘the Mother of the Nation’ of South Africa, died yesterday in Johannesburg at the age of 81 after a yearlong illness. Madikizela-Mandela was an anti-apartheid campaigner and a symbol of her country’s struggle for over thirty years, epitomizing the ‘new’ South Africa.
South Africa’s ruling party, African National Congress, will formally request that President Jacob Zuma steps down from his position, following his refusal to resign voluntarily. The decision was made during a 13-hour meeting, which ended Tuesday morning. Amid corruption allegations, Zuma has resisted resignation since being replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of the ANC in December.
Following President Trump’s tweet on Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked to study the ‘large scale killing’ of white farmers in South Africa, the South African government responded, saying Trump’s tweet was ‘based on false information.’ Trump’s comment sparked outrage as it promoted a white-nationalist conspiracy theory involving South Africa.