History. – In April 2009 the legislative elections took place, which once again saw the victory of the African national congress (ANC) with 65.9% of the votes. 16.6% went to the Demo cratic alliance (DA) and 7.6% to the Congress of the people (COPE). In May Jacob Zuma (v.) Was elected by the Parliament to the presidency of the Republic. His government, however, showed early signs of instability: in June 2012 it carried out its third reshuffle, while the ANC was rife with internal conflicts, which led to the suspension (2011) and then the expulsion (2012) of the controversial president of the youth organization of the Julius Malema party.
Despite having given great proof of efficiency in hosting the Soccer World Cup in June-July 2010, the country was increasingly showing signs of a difficult economic situation, above all due to the world crisis, and of a profound social unrest that it found expression in demonstrations and strikes, sometimes with dramatic results, such as that of August 2012 in which the police opened fire, killing 34 miners. Despite the birth of a large class of black bourgeoisie, one of the successes of the ‘positive discrimination’ policy, South Africa remained a country with a very high rate of inequality and a high concentration of wealth, still in the hands of a minority. Paradoxically, the very modernity of its economic structure – the balance between agriculture, industry and services, the financial infrastructure, the presence of a strong trade union and welfare programs – had prevented the country from competing with the ‘Asian tigers’ and with China in terms of labor costs, also suffering competition from internal, in important sectors such as the mechanical, textile and food industries. In foreign policy, South Africa continued to play a very active role both as a mediator in various African conflicts and, at the international level, by participating in the G20 (see in important sectors such as the mechanical, textile and food industries. In foreign policy, South Africa continued to play a very active role both as a mediator in various African conflicts and, at the international level, by participating in the G20 (see in important sectors such as the mechanical, textile and food industries. In foreign policy, South Africa continued to play a very active role both as a mediator in various African conflicts and, at the international level, by participating in the G20 (see G7-G8-G20), of which South Africa – the only African country – was a member, to IBSA (India Brazil South Africa) and to G5 (group of emerging economies).
In the elections of May 2014, in which 73% of eligible voters participated, the ANC won its fifth consecutive victory, with 62.2% of the votes, and Zuma was re-elected to the presidency. The DA, which, led by Helen Zille, had conquered Cape Town and maintained control of the Western Cape province, was confirmed as the main opposition party with 22.2% of the votes, while the new formation founded by Malema in 2013, Economic freedom fighters (EFF), obtained 6.3% of the votes, gathering, with a program with strongly populist accents, the favor of many young born free (i.e. born after apartheid) and unemployed, as well as part of the working class, such as the miners who have been on strike for months. The ANC, therefore, still represented the main political force of the South Africa, but compared to 2009 it had recorded a decline in support of four percentage points. The inefficiency of the government weighed on this result, but also the diminished popularity of Zuma, involved in scandals that highlighted the unclear links with unscrupulous entrepreneurs and fixers, up to the sensation caused by the enormous expenditure incurred, with the money of the taxpayers, for the construction of a pharaonic residence in his native village. But in the election campaign, the ANC had been able to skillfully exploit the undoubted successes achieved and above all the memory of Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5, 2013 and mourned by the whole nation. Furthermore, he could still count on the support of a large part of the poor population, who survived thanks to the monthly subsidies paid by the state. The party then elected Cyril Ramaphosa as vice-president, in December 2013, a great negotiator in the negotiations that had led to the end of the apartheid, whose reputation was undisputed and who, returning to politics, after having moved away from it to become a successful entrepreneur, was preparing to assume the post of de facto prime minister. For South Africa history, please check areacodesexplorer.com.
In June 2014, as soon as the elections were won, the government closed the long dispute with the miners’ union, granting less skilled workers a substantial wage increase. In June 2015, the commission of inquiry appointed by the government after the killing of the 34 striking miners in 2012 concluded, after three years, its work, recognizing the responsibilities of the police, but excluding any involvement of the government itself.
Architecture. – The South African architectural scene is certainly among the liveliest and most interesting on the entire continent. Johannesburg (v.), Durban and, perhaps even more, Cape Town, in recent years have proved to be very significant centers for contemporary design, recognizable and appreciated internationally. In the sector of single-family homes, the experimentation underway, especially in Cape Town and its surroundings, has been one of the most innovative from the point of view of linguistic and technological choices. SAOTA, Stefan Olmesdahl Truen Architects, for example, which caters to an international clientele, has built a large number of spectacular coastal villas overlooking the Atlantic and Indian oceans. These include the one in Clifton, a prestigious residential area just south of Cape Town, built in 2014. Very interesting are also the simple houses (2013) built by Wolff Architects in the Cederberg mountains, on the west coast of the country. Similar considerations apply to the villas designed by studios such as Gass Architecture (think of the house in Stellenbosch, from 2013); Gavin Maddock Design (with the Pearl Bay residence in Yzerfontein in 2013); Daffonchio and Associates (with the Liebmann house in Johannesburg, from 2014); Metropole Architects (with the Aloe Ridge House in Pennington, from 2013).
The commercial production of international taste remains significant, which in the South Africa for many decades has reached levels comparable to those in the West. Noteworthy are the Proud Heritage clothing campus (2006) in Durban, by Don Albert and Partners, and the headquarters of Morvest (2013), built by Anthrop Architects in Noordwyk, Midrand. Finally, the architectural experimentation underway in the poorest and most socially degraded areas is very interesting, predictably attentive to economic and environmental sustainability. This is the case of the Inkwenkwezi secondary school (2007) by Noero Wolff Architects in Cape Town or the elementary school of Gangouroubouro (2013), designed by LEVS architecten: an elementary structure that is sensitive to climatic conditions, built with the active participation of the local community.