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Vol 37 No 23

Published 15th November 1996

South Africa


In its Eastern Cape heartland, many think that the ANC needs to make radical changes

The province that was the cradle of African education, leadership and prosperity has come to be regarded by many as the country's worst governed and administered. Many of its citizens are fed up. The 84.4 per cent of the Eastern Cape vote won by the African National Congress in the 1994 provincial elections is at risk. From the province emerged Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki and his son Thabo – all Xhosas, an ethnic fact which the ANC is keen to underemphasise. The man now blamed for the province's problems is its ANC Premier, Raymond Mhlaba, often known as 'Teddy Bear'. He is 76 and widely criticised as past it, uneducated, incompetent and out of his depth. Yet he is a veteran of the liberation struggle and seems to regard his premiership as the just reward for years of service. President Mandela himself (aged 78) has urged Mhlaba to plead poor health and retire, thus sparing the ANC a blizzard of criticism.

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