REPORTER: Geoff Parish
At the foot of Cape Town's famous Table Mountain, a special celebration is under way. Multiracial South Africa is on display. Today is the opening of parliament for 2004. It marks the 10th year of majority rule. A decade ago, the world held its breath as the first democratic election sounded the death knell of apartheid.

WOMAN: It changed my life. It changed my people's life in the community.

I reported on that tumultuous event and was living here for the first years of the new government. I've come back to see if the ruling African National Congress has delivered on its promise of a better life for all. The moment has drawn old friends, and the icons of the struggle against apartheid. This is Mama Africa, the great singer Miriam Makeba, who spent 31 years in exile.

MIRIAM MAKEBA: Wonderful, I feel wonderful. I think we've - our government and the people have come a long way.

A long way indeed, this was South Africa 12 months before the '94 election - a nation torn apart by political violence. Miraculously, as Nelson Mandela cast his vote for the first time, the country had pulled back from a bloodbath. Today 'the old man', as he's affectionately called, is physically frail but still revered by his people.
Now the nation is led by Mandela's chosen successor, Thabo Mbeki, he's unchallenged as President and leader of the ruling party. Mbeki has come to deliver the state of the nation address in a parliament whose halls once echoed only to white footsteps.

ALLISTER SPARKS, AUTHOR: It was profoundly conservative in its whole atmosphere. You know, there were all these white men talking about what Africans thought. Every single one of them was a kind of amateur anthropologist. They were always talking about black people who weren't there. And they all, each of them believed that he knew exactly what black people thought, wanted, what their aspirations were and all the rest. Now suddenly it's transformed into this kaleidoscopic picture. It has to be the most colourful parliament on earth, I should think.
Voting day, yes. And this is the inauguration of Mandela.

Allister Sparks has been reporting on his country's complex politics for five decades. Over the years, he's explained to me much about South Africa.

ALLISTER SPARKS: When this rookie government of men and women who had never run anything took over and found the country profoundly in debt with less than three weeks foreign exchange reserves, suddenly they had to turn that around and it was a taxing job for the wisest of people. But, you know, the man who is now Finance Minister had never studied finances for a single day in his life. He was an activist in the streets, the only thing he knew how to do was to type and now he's globally recognised as a fine finance minister.

Mbeki's speech charts the progress of the last 10 years - a new constitution, electricity delivered to 4 million people, water to 9 million, more children in school. He says current policies will remain in place.
While the ANC dominates in South Africa, there is an opposition. This is the election campaign launch for the Democratic Alliance. This sort of electioneering razzmatazz is new to South Africa and the DA is a curious political beast. It marries white Tories with disaffected black and so-called coloured or mixed race voters.
Tony Leon is the DA's leader. He's a cocky, combative politician and knows how to rip into the ANC.

TONY LEON, OPPOSITION LEADER: They have failed the biggest test of all they have failed to deliver the better life they promised. 8 million people out of work, 8 million, 21 million people in poverty, 250,000 people murdered in this country since 1994, 5 million infected with HIV/AIDS. When the ANC comes down and the DA goes up, then we'll...

REPORTER: Geoff Parish from Australian broadcasting. Hello, how are you? I've come all the way from Sydney to talk to you.

TONY LEON: Really? You liar!

When we catch up with Tony Leon, he says it's not good enough for the ANC to keep blaming apartheid for the nation's problems.

TONY LEON: It isn't just simply a question of inheritance, it isn't just a question of resources, it is also a question of having pursued some very, I think, wrong policies in the last few years or not having prioritised certain national emergencies and that has led us to the state that we're in on certain of these issues. And for the President to say "I'm just offering you more of the same," which was the bottom line of his message, I think is going to lead to a very good election result for the opposition.

While Leon raises some serious failures of the ANC, he has no power. The DA hold only 38 seats out of 400 in the National Assembly. The ANC has 266. With electioneering continuing in Cape Town, we travel to Johannesburg, the economic heartland of the nation.
Close to the CBD sits Alexandra township, a good place to see what a better life for all means for the black majority. Under apartheid, as many as 350,000 people crammed into a few square kilometres. It's been called a museum of poverty, but the government is now spending millions of dollars on development, including new suburbs. But down at the bottom of the township there's a place that's a microcosm of a massive national problem that the government seems unable to fix. Over the last decade, huge numbers of poorly educated people have flocked to the cities for work. But the economy isn't growing fast enough to absorb them and they end up in squatter camps.

ALLISTER SPARKS: Every town, every city of the country is being choked with these unemployed and largely unemployable people. This is a massive problem. The government, as of now, I think doesn't know what to do about it.

This camp is called Swetla. It's home to about 4,000 people. Most live without electricity. The only toilets are these portables. I've been coming back here for years, and down this lane lives Busi Mavuso, a firm friend.

BUSI MAVUSO: Would you like some tea, Geoff?

Busi is a wise, strong woman, who's seen her country emerge from apartheid.
It's the best service I've had since I've been to South Africa.

BUSI MAVUSO: Really?
So, this is a real change, we feel that this is our country and we have a right to live in this country. During the apartheid times we felt like we were strangers, they were the owners of this country.

While she values her freedom, she's still waiting for Swetla to see some development.

BUSI MAVUSO: This squatter camp hasn't changed, not at all. The only thing which has happened is that they put some paving on the roads and some paving on the passages. Those are the only changes that I've seen. And when we ask about that they say this squatter camp cannot be upgraded because it's an informal settlement. But really, since 1987 we've been in this squatter camp, so I don't see how informal is that.

Busi is one of an estimated 8 million South Africans who don't have a job - but you wouldn't call her idle. She's transformed this patch of ground, where rubbish and even dead bodies were once dumped, into a little garden of Eden.

BUSI MAVUSO: Very nice pumpkins, as you can see.

REPORTER: Gee, can you bring it up, just a little?

BUSI MAVUSO: In fact, I should take them home they are ready.

Busi loves gardening, but her passion has a very practical purpose - the garden feeds her and provides income. Looking around Swetla, you see a thousand similar examples of people eking out a living. Unemployment is rising under the ANC Government. 30% is the official figure, but here the locals say it may be double that. It's a staggering prospect, in stark contrast to the government's latest election slogan.

ALLISTER SPARKS: Yeah, the government promises a better life for all but that isn't happening. There's considerably better life for some, and next to no improvement for large numbers. And this is one of its areas of failure that will have to be addressed.

Despite nearly two decades in Swetla's tough conditions, Busi maintains an unshakable faith in the party that delivered her freedom.

BUSI MAVUSO: No doubt, I'll be voting African National Congress. Viva ANC, viva.

REPORTER: You're not tempted to vote anybody else?

BUSI MAVUSO: No, no, no.

REPORTER: Why? Because you said things hadn't changed so much here?

BUSI MAVUSO: They haven't changed but I don't see that as ANC's fault, because right on top there they have very good policies and they're really trying very hard to reach everyone. Because the delivery hasn't been done properly, that doesn't mean that the ANC has failed. It's just individuals who failed to do their jobs properly.

REPORTER: There doesn't appear to be a pressure cooker here. When one walks around, people seem somewhat happier with their lot.

ALLISTER SPARKS: Yeah, I think that's absolutely true. They're a great deal happier with their lot. I mean, they're not harassed by the police with pass laws, the daily life is much more relaxed and in many ways even if you have no job, it's much better.

Better for many, but not down here. 100m from Busi's place, the shacks hang right over a polluted river. The authorities have cleared people out of here several times, but there's nowhere else for them to go, so they keep coming back. Next to this rat-infested gully lives Doris Baloi. She moved here from the rural areas in search of work. She's finished high school and has a one year diploma in travel and tourism from a training college, but no job. She's been unemployed for six years.

DORIS BALOI: For me, I didn't see any changes. But I voted for a better life for all, but for me, nothing.

There's no dole in South Africa, but Doris hasn't given up hope. This morning she's off again searching for a job. Alex is surrounded by light industry and there's a chance of some casual work. But once again, she's out of luck.

DORIS BALOI: No, no job. But sometimes they take at least some temporary workers. Yeah, 25 rand per day.

REPORTER: 25 rand?

DORIS BALOI: 25 rand. Just imagine, nine hours for 25 rand.

REPORTER: Not much.

DORIS BALOI: It's too small.

That's about AUS$5 for a day's work. Doris survives on the charity of her brother and sister. It's a life without electricity, running water or sanitation. Fires that regularly sweep the squatter camp have destroyed most of her possessions. The last fire devoured her identity card - that means she can't even vote at next month's election.

REPORTER: Thabo Mbeki is saying that he's going to create jobs for people.

DORIS BALOI: From when? How many years did I vote for that Thabo Mbeki? How many years? I voted for him but I have nothing. Don't have a job. I'll still here in my shack without doing anything.

Like most squatter camps, fetching water is a constant concern in Swetla and hard work. But there's fountains of the stuff running day and night nearby.
This is the new headquarters for one of South Africa's major investment companies. Blacks were once barred from owning a business. But as chairman of Stanlib, Saki Macozoma is now responsible for over $30 billion worth of investments. When I last saw him more than a decade ago, he was handing out press releases for the ANC. It's been a meteoric rise to say the least, part of the government's key strategy of black economic empowerment.

SAKI MACOZOMA, CHAIRMAN, STANLIB: It's simply means that you cannot have an economy in which a minority controls the economy - land, minerals and everything - and that the black majority has no access to it on the basis that this was legitimately acquired. It was not.

As a black entrepreneur, Saki Macozoma has a vital role in a nation being transformed. But what about those like Doris at the bottom of the heap and with few prospects?

SAKI MACOZOMA: There will never be income for somebody who will sit there and say "I've been done in", you know. Most of us come - because most of us come from... I could be sitting in Kwazakulu and say "I don't know what to do." I made a decision and I said to myself I want to do this and that and that and the other. I don't come from any family that had any means whatsoever, even to send me to university. I made sure I went through university on my own.

Saki represents the tough pragmatists in the ANC. They're economically cautious but also know they're sitting on an unemployment time bomb.

SAKI MACOZOMA: And therefore what you need, in the meantime, is actually to come up with a program that gives them not necessarily a job, but an opportunity for life. Now that takes on a number of things. One of those would be a government grant, one of those would be assistance with education, one of those would be assistance with housing.

A recent budget has put more money into public works and social payments but Allister Sparks says much more is needed.

ALLISTER SPARKS: I have suggested that what we need is an equivalent of Franklin D. Roosevelt's new deal with massive public works projects, and they've introduced some, but I don't think nearly enough. So that is an area of challenge, I don't think that they can be entirely blamed for it, but the modern world pitched them into what is known as neo-liberal economics - and it isn't working for the underclass. How do you change it? It's the biggest single challenge that faces them, along of course with the HIV/AIDS crisis.

At the Ethombeni home for abandoned children in Johannesburg, all the debate, all the political rhetoric about the AIDS crisis in South Africa comes down to this - one tiny child fighting for her life.
Not much is known about little Lindiwe Tshabalala except she's one of an estimated 5 million South Africans with HIV/AIDS, and hasn't got long to live.

NURSE: We'll keep looking after her as long as we possibly can but as soon as she needs to be in a hospice, we have to transfer her.

It's hard to understand how President Thabo Mbeki became an AIDS dissident, questioning the link between HIV and AIDS. But his mixed messages and lack of leadership on the issue meant his government botched its response to the growing crisis.

ALLISTER SPARKS: Well, AIDS has been just a major, a major defect in the man's whole make-up. He got intellectually intrigued by the dissidents and once into it, he then has this great difficulty of saying, "Sorry folks, I got it wrong." He has backed away, but without ever putting it in such terms.

The government now has a policy and is ploughing money into the issue, but it's far too late for some.

HEATHER ROUSSOUW, THE SALVATION ARMY: This is another memorial quilt, it's one of our most recent quilts, it was done last year, August.

The Salvation Army's Heather Roussouw has seen many children die, but experience doesn't soften the blow.

HEATHER ROUSSOUW: So it's very traumatic when you do lose a child, even more if it's a favourite. So you try not to have favourites but, you know, they just know how to creep into your heart.

And in the midst of the pandemic, incredibly, the government still hasn't made anti-retroviral drugs available that restrain the disease.

HEATHER ROUSSOUW: No, we are in no position to actually receive any drugs from the government departments as yet and we haven't been notified about it.

REPORTER: And what do you think about that?

HEATHER ROUSSOUW: I think it's actually quite shocking, because why should children suffer?

10 years into the transformation of South Africa, there's no doubt the government has achieved much, but new challenges and the legacy of apartheid won't be quickly overcome.

BUSI MAVUSO: It's a lot to do. The damage has taken about 300 years, I must say, before I was born, before my fathers were born, so it won't only take 10 years to change. But I think we're getting there.

Busi Mavuso is a great survivor, but for Doris Baloi, freedom promised so much more.

DORIS BALOI: It's tough. And I don't want to live like this. I want to improve my life. Because I've got two hands to work, yeah.


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