All the News of the World South African comment as their first black President, Nelson Mandela, steps down
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The Independent Culture
MBEKI IS still likely to face some heckling from Mandela. As an ordinary ANC member, Mandela has explained: "I will have the privilege to be as critical as I can be." If things go wrong, he will interfere, unless he is stopped. Many others, too, will interfere. For the fact is that South Africa is a democracy, with a strong constitution and careful counterweights; and the ANC's powerful national executive, re-elected in 1997, is strikingly multi-racial. It is only when Mbeki chooses his new Cabinet in the next few days that his true preferences and intentions will become clearer; but he will defy Mandela's legacy at his peril.

Mail and Guardian

THE COUNTRY greets its new President even as it bids the old one a grateful farewell. He [Mandela] has, at times, shown weakness and pettiness and poor judgement, but, as he takes leave as the country's leader, most will be inclined to forget these things. However, to suppress his humanity and fallibility is also to denigrate his achievements. For the fact is he has been a symbol of hope to millions and the pillar on which our present stability and position of respect in the world has been built. For this we thank him warmly.

Natal Witness

SOUTH AFRICA embarks on its second walk towards consolidating its nascent democracy when Mbeki is inaugurated as the country's President. This occasion is a milestone in the country's democracy. There were emotional scenes during Mandela's inauguration as the first black president of a non-racial South Africa. It was unbelievable that South Africa was taking its first step towards democratic rule. There was always the fear that the "centre would not hold" and the country would be plunged into internecine warfare. This did not happen, to the disappointment of the prophets of doom. Mbeki has the difficult task of taking over from a man who was hero- worshipped and regarded as almost perfect. Mandela managed to steady the ship from sinking; now Mbeki has the unenviable task of steering it forward.

The Star