South Africa is a vigorous multiparty democracy with an independent judiciary and a free and diverse press. Until 1994, the country was known for apartheid – white-minority rule. Its ability to put centuries of racial hatred behind it in favour of reconciliation was widely considered a social miracle, inspiring similar peace efforts in Northern Ireland, Rwanda and elsewhere. The highest law of the land is the new Constitution, considered one of the most progressive in the world.


The Constitution's Bill of Rights protects equality, freedom of expression and association, property, housing, healthcare, education, access to information, and access to courts. Protecting these rights is the country's independent judiciary, subject only to the Constitution and the law. With 13 parties in Parliament, South Africa has a vibrant political system. The African National Congress is in the majority, but opposition parties remain robust and vocal. National elections have been held in 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009. (Source: www.southafrica.info)