South Africa has come a long way since February 1990, when the ban on the ANC and other African political organizations was lifted and Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were released from jail. Against heavy odds and after protracted negotiations in an atmosphere contaminated by periodic violence the political transition has been successfully completed. An interim constitution was adopted in November 1993 and the country saw its first free and democratic elections in April 1994. In May of that year the new president was sworn in and subsequently the Government of National Unity, constituted by all the major parties, began its work.