South Africa: The Struggle For Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The instrumental approach is a sound approach, because it involves the psychological and cultural considerations that are tangential to the successful transition of South Africa. Resolving the conflict from these perspectives would move the transition towards success so that the more integrated technical problems of economics could be resolved.

The instrumental approach is also appropriate because the unspoken and conflicting agendas of the parties prevented those goals from being consciously recognized by all the parties, because they were unspoken and covert. Certainly the agenda of the white minority would be to maintain as much control as possible over the functions and decisions of government, in part because they distrusted the abilities and experience of the ANC to make sound decisions based on Mandela's careless statement concerning nationalizing of businesses, and his public redress of de Klerk. These goals were, however, recognized by the outside observers of the process.

As it turned, the two major players in South Africa, the white National Party and the ANC, succumbed to the pressures of the multi-faceted third point on the pyramid that encompassed all other interests. We can include in this point the interests of whites, who were tired of civil unrest and violence, and wanted to feel secure in their homes and to go about the business of rebuilding their lives and businesses and farms. For these reasons, the CODESA meetings became the key platform upon which to accomplish the interests of all the parties, but also the platform wherein it was revealed that both the major players, the National Party and the ANC, by way of failing to create a strong bond with the other interests, had failed (Ottaway, 164). This meant that CODESA was a failure (167) -- but not entirely.

As we look at the CODESA, it became the vehicle upon which the two major players came together with unspoken agendas of self-interest, and broke down under the weight of self-interest, which could have been successful had that weight been less one of self-interest and vying for power, and more one of sharing and distributing the interests and the power. However, CODESA defined the conflict in more broad terms, and caused the points for potential resolution of conflict and bringing the disenfranchised into the political process as partners and participants.

South Africa reflects the cultural paradigm: conflict is caused by interest, and indeed the interests at CODESA were varied, but dominated by the two stronger interests. The interests of the National Party and the ANC prevented a constitution from being adopted at CODESA II, which could have perhaps surpassed self-interests, and created sustainable constitutional rights for the masses and lesser powerful entities in the country.

This is not the conclusion that Ottaway arrives at. Ottaway does not move beyond the failure of the parties to successfully produce an outline for a constitution, but instead allows both the National Party and the ANC to be co-collaborators in failure when violence broke out in the townships in 1992, bringing about an end to CODESA, which was followed by the ANC issuing an ultimatum to the National Party that had to be met before the ANC could resume negotiations (177-178). However, negotiations would not have been necessary had the government implemented the ANC's demands, because meeting the demands would have transferred the reigns of power and control over to the ANC. That is where the events stood when Ottaway wrote her book.

We now know, however, that abandoning CODESA was perhaps the ANC's biggest mistake, and contributed to the internal problems that the ANC experienced, which resulted in the resignation of ANC President Thabo Mbeki (CIA World Factbook 2010). The ANC, however, has managed to maintain control of the country's political leadership...
...ANC leadership continues to hold power today, but the country's problems, arising out of the unaddressed interests of the other players, including, now, the Afrikaners, the Zulu, and other indigenous groups, continuing to be the source of ongoing economic and social turmoil in South Africa (CIA World Factbook).

Conclusion -- the Opportunity South Africa Presents for CR

Today, as the ANC has had more than 10 years of control over the government and its processes to bring about change, but has failed to do so, we can conclude that this failure is because the ANC did not focus its efforts on creating balance, but on acquiring power. The ANC's internal struggles are power struggles, and because they do not take into play the needs and interests of the society as a whole, they will continue to fail.

We can approach the problem from the cultural paradigm, and identify the points of CR. The ANC, or its successors, should they continue to fail and be voted out in the hope of competent leadership; must address the issues that will bring about opportunity and cause all the players in South Africa to be partners at the political, social, and economic levels.

Employment is the opportunity by which the masses can begin to realize full partnership in a black majority government. The opportunities for employment must be include opportunities and resources for entrepreneurial endeavors. Small business opportunities must be created for those people whose status in life was impacted by apartheid, and they did not have the education or opportunities to become engaged economically in a post-apartheid environment.

Healthcare must be a priority, because it both brings the masses into the partnership as members of the black majority, and because the country suffers an HIV / AIDS epidemic (CIA World Factbook) that continues to threaten not just the health of individuals, but also the economy.

Education must be a primary area of focus, because in the apartheid of the former structure, the education of the black majority was not a focus or primary concern, and as a result few of the black majority were properly educated and prepared to become full partners in the post-apartheid Africa politics or economy. The CIA World Factbook, however, reports that the country is literate, and that the population of South African people over the age of 15 that can read and write is 86.4%; higher than we would have anticipated in a post-apartheid country.

Finally, it would behoove the ANC as the country's political leadership to bond with and establish working relationships with the white political minority that established and maintained the original infrastructure of the country that they more or less inherited the reins to. By now, people are, if not letting go of their racism, less overt about those ideas as they do not further anyone's goals in a post-apartheid environment. The experience and expertise of the white minority should not be discounted or disregarded by the ANC, and creating such a bond could in fact be the bond that in the long-term saves the ANC, and South Africa.


CIA World Factbook, 2010. South Africa, found online at, retrieved March 3, 2010.

Ottaway, Marina, 1993. South Africa: The Struggle for a New Order, the Brookings

Institution, Washington, DC.

Pruitt, D. And Kim, S.,…

Sources Used in Documents:


CIA World Factbook, 2010. South Africa, found online at, retrieved March 3, 2010.

Ottaway, Marina, 1993. South Africa: The Struggle for a New Order, the Brookings

Institution, Washington, DC.

Pruitt, D. And Kim, S., 2004. Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement,

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