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New South Africa
(page 8)
Unlike most other South African cities, Cape Town enjoyed a sense of continuity going into the new South Africa. The city had been in the forefront of opposition to apartheid, including a majority of its white population, who supported democracy by demonstrating and voting against apartheid.

The 'new South Africa' was proclaimed in Cape Town by FW de Klerk, in February 1990. The city welcomed Mandela upon his release and the first high level public meetings between the Government and ANC were held in Cape Town at Groote Schuur.

But after 1990 the political focus shifted north again, just as it had after Union in 1910. The negotiations were held in Johannesburg, and were plagued by the troubles in its townships, among other areas. After the national elections of 1994 it was clear that the locus of power and black empowerment would be around Johannesburg. In fact there was a serious proposal to move Parliament from Cape Town, but Capetonians successfully campaigned against this idea.

In much of the country the 'New South Africa' had entailed a dramatic leap, and it was a difficult transition. By comparison, Cape Town 'evolved' into the new era. National politics had swung from the 'right' to the 'left', but Cape Town retained its own flow. Soon it became regarded, both nationally and internationally, as an attractive centre offering stability. This image was rewarded with increased tourism and foreign investment. The city also retained its high proportion of professional and skilled people.

The blight of AIDS loomed ominously on the horizon, but at least the Cape Provincial government led the way in the provision of free drugs, several years ahead of the rest of the country. Private organisations such as Nazareth House developed services to meet the growing needs.

In many ways Cape Town entered the new millennium with confidence. There was renewed cultural vibrance and expression. Unprecedented, high-end developments were under construction at the Waterfront, Foreshore, Century City and elsewhere. The poorest areas were becoming more stable and better established. There were indications that crime was coming under control. Meanwhile, tourism, which was the driving force behind much of the development, was steadily increasing.

With its relative stability and prosperity Cape Town is well placed to develop and meet the challenges ahead.

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Heritage Sections
· Culture ·
· Environment ·
History · Society
Personalities · Areas

In this period of Cape History:


Mandela's Release




New Government

& Change



Bibliography & Contacts


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