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Caritas Australia salutes 10 years of democracy in South Africa

As the world celebrated 10 years of majority rule in South Africa yesterday, Caritas Australia congratulated the people of South Africa for their peaceful transition to democracy.

On the day on which South Africans enjoyed their 'Freedom Day' national holiday, Caritas issued a statement outlining challenges that the country still faces. These include finding ways to increase levels of employment for all its people - particularly its black majority - and curbing more effectively the spread of HIV/AIDS.

On 27 April 1994, through democratically held elections the country managed to dismantle apartheid, the most conspicuously institutionalised expression of racism the world then knew, without major bloodshed or economic turmoil.

Caritas said: "The policy of 'Peace and Reconciliation' followed by [former President] Mandela and his government and adopted by South African society allowed the country to find a way of putting injustices into the context of the past and provided a guide for the country to move peacefully forward."

Caritas said that while the outbreak of waterborne diseases has decreased, the South African Government has faced international and internal criticism for moving too slowly in controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS. In 2004, an estimated 5.3 million South Africans are living with HIV/AIDS, the highest number in any one country in the world.

"There is much to be done but South Africa is to be commended for its commitment to realising the goals of self-determination for the vast majority of its people during the last ten years."

Caritas Australia salutes 10 years of democracy in South Africa (Caritas Australia 27/4/04)

28 Apr 2004