South African President Nelson Mandela is confident the process of reconciliation is on track after decades of apartheid and says it could even gather speed under his heir, Thabo Mbeki.

Mandela, speaking in a wide-ranging interview about the future of his country, dispelled fears that the process would suffer or be undermined after his retirement next year."Reconciliation is proceeding well as far as I am concerned.

It means all people, all groups are doing something tangible. They all want to move away from the situation under apartheid," Mandela told Reuters.

Mandela, who turns 80 next month, plans to retire when black and white South Africans vote together for only the second time in elections due to be held sometime between March and May next year.

He claimed a series of successes, which include redressing the racism and economic injustices of apartheid, during the term of his four-year old government which took power after a landslide win for his African National Congress in democratic polls in 1994.

"This government has delivered for the people but its challenge remains to increase the pace of delivery, to better the lives of all South Africans," Mandela said.