In 1990 before the South Afrikan authorities released Mandela from prison, he assured his supporters that the nationalization of mines, banks and minerals were all goals to look forward to. These ideas were essential ideals of the African National Congresses' Freedom Charter. Once in power Mandela did not nationalize anything, but instead allowed the same white South Afrikans to privately own these businesses. Moreover, he allowed the most powerful bank in the country, the Reserve Bank of South Africa, to stay privately owned by white South Afrikans. There would be no economic transformation from Apartheid into a democratic society with economic changes; the economy would stay in the hands of whites while Blacks were handed the vote and other important rights denied them. The ANC also burdened their new government by accepting the responsibility for the huge Apartheid-era debt. The outgrowing government made extremely tight budgetary obligations that would tie the hands of any future governments; obligations to make a free-trade policy and abolish all forms of tariff protection in keeping with neo-liberal free trade fundamentals the ANC government accepted. They new government also gave further concessions that benefited the old regime. They tabled the idea of tax on the super-rich that would be used to fund developmental projects. In addition domestic and international corporations that grew wealthy from Apartheid were excused from any financial reparations. The ANC government allowed large corporations to shift their main listings abroad. The once communist-leaning ANC in its negotiations had become a pro-capitalist liberal government in the mold of other Western states.
Another platform of the ANC Freedom Charter was the redistribution of land; however, there was a new clause in the constitution which protected all private property, making it highly unlikely that land redistribution would proceed as hoped. The Afrikaners demanded guarantees that the land would not be arbitrarily taken (i.e., without permission of the land owner and without compensation based on market prices -- the so-called willing buyer, willing seller principle), in exchange for relinquishing political power. And they got their way. ANC leaders make two erroneous assumptions regarding the land question: The first was that there would be enough funds to purchase land to satisfy the legitimate concerns of the landless, and second, that those who held the land, the whites, would willingly place land on the market for land reform as a sign of reconciliation. In both cases the ANC were wrong and it seems practically impossible to implement radical and widespread land redistribution at this point.
The ANC's Reconstruction and Development Program promised to redistribute 30% of agricultural land in its first five years in government. Under the land restitution program, of 63,455 claims lodged since 1994, only 4925 have been settled. Most of the settlements are cash payments, with just 162 involving restoration of land. It has been nearly twenty years and just slightly over 2% of the land has the ANC governments redistributed, and what they have distributed is not prime agricultural land. Land ownership in post-Apartheid South Afrika look much like it did in the final years of Apartheid -- the white population (14% of the population) owns nearly 85% of the land. Whites have not done their part in South Afrika's reconciliation, especially when it come to land redistribution.
But should we have expected them to? Were ANC leaders short-sighted or politically naive to think so? Reconciliation has meant nothing but Afrikan people `forgiving' whites for 300+ years of dispossession, humiliation and suffering. Mugabe believes that Mandela "was too much of a saint" with his emphasis on reconciliation. According to Mugabe, "Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of [blacks]." Mugabe is not alone in his view. A 1998 study by South Afrika's Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation that surveyed several hundred victims of human-rights abuse during the Apartheid era, found that most felt that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had failed to achieve reconciliation between the Black and white communities. Most believed that justice was a prerequisite for reconciliation rather than an alternative to it, and that the TRC had been weighted in favor of the perpetrators of abuse. There are even folks that feel that Afrikaners should have faced a world tribunal, much like the Nazis of Germany faced after WWII. That South Afrikans should have demanded reparations rather than reconciliation. Inequality persists in South Afrika. And a minority of people still control the resources of the majority. But this is true all over the world. The world is Apartheid. But being more exact with our definition, I would add to my colleagues initial definition but add, Apartheid is when a racial minority controls the resources of a racial majority. And this is a definition that we can equate with white supremacy and clearly Apartheid was a manifestation of it. But to the point at hand, white supremacy, in this case Apartheid is still thriving in South Afrika, and now under the cloak of being a free and democratic society. Either the ANC sold out or they were weak negotiators--or both!