South Africa has a unique history of legislated oppression, having experienced years of racial inequalities and discrimination across all social realms. For instance, separation of races occurred in educational institutions and employment. The apartheid state invested more funds in the white population’s education and neglected the welfare and educational needs of black South Africans. However, the country was emancipated from the oppressive laws after the first democratic elections in 1994, which the Africa National Congress (ANC) won, making Nelson Mandela the first black South African president.97 The threat of racial conflict that hung heavily over the apartheid era South Africa has been fairly dealt with by over 20 years of democracy, accompanied by significant social and economic transformation, underpinned by a liberal democratic constitution. All these have been buttressed by four free, fair and peaceful elections.98
South Africa has done well in generating policies that propagate good governance. For example, since the mid-1990s, South Africa has become a centre of innovation in public policy making and implementation. It is difficult to find a country in the developed or developing world that has institutionalized participatory policy making processes in different fields. Some of the policies that South Africa has worked on include employment creation and poverty alleviation, healthcare and HIV/AIDS, and child labour.99 South Africa also made impressive strides towards transforming other institutions like the judiciary. The country established a national department known as the Office of the Chief Justice, to ensure the independence of the judiciary.
South Africa was among the first countries to recognize the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a pillar of good governance launched through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union adoption of a Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. APRM aims at enhancing political-economic governance in member countries. South Africa’s financial industry complies fully with the codes of practice of the Bank for International Settlements.100 Furthermore, the country was ranked fifth in Africa in the 2010 Mo Ibrahim ranking index on governance.101