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Hopes remain high for South Africa, but its leaders are having to tackle tough challenges

Foreign reports on South Africa have been keen to point out the country's failings of late. Gleeful cynics, knowing the initial euphoria that accompanied the birth of the new era could not last, have depicted Nelson Mandela's 'Rainbow Nation' as a tarnished dream. Everyone knew apartheid's legacy could not be resolved overnight, yet some commentators talk as if Mandela had promised an instant transformation.

There is no doubt, however, that half way through Mandela's term of office, serious questions need to be answered. Even the Government, for instance, acknowledges that crime figures are unacceptably high, and that the vast problem of unemployment has to be tackled with urgent measures. There are also demands from South Africa's business leaders for a more consistent pro-investment policy that will encourage sustainable economic growth - a fundamental necessity if the Government is to live up to its long-term promise of improving South African's quality of life.

For this special section, World Statesman asked some of the most influential people in South Africa what the next steps for their country should be. In an exclusive interview, Nelson Mandela denies that his policies are failing to crack down on crime, that hope has been replaced by disillusionment, and that the Government lacks a coherent policy for the South African economy. Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Alec Erwin, Trade and Industry Minister, explain how South Africa will pay for its commitments and become a global player, while leading business authorities address the challenges faced by the nation's companies in this critical era of change.

New Nation, New Challenge - Nelson Mandela interviewed on crime, disillusionment and the pace of change
The Right Balance - South Africa's Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on combining fiscal discipline with social spending
Tempting Investment - Alec Erwin, Minister of Trade and Industry, discusses South Africa's moves to attract investment
The Economic Outlook - Dr van der Merwe of SA Reserve Bank gives his view of the challenges facing the Government
Promoting Development - Dr J P Reinhardt comments on the Government's strategies for encouraging growth in industry

An Industrial Evolution - Dr Fauconnier explains how South African corporations have to change to survive
Investment Banking - Jan Hugo of Rand Merchant Bank says the Government could do more to promote investment

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