Democracy & Governance

The relationship between democracy and governance and the realisation of socio-economic rights is an important issue for debate. SACSIS seeks to understand this relationship and identify issues that act as barriers to pro-poor democracy.

Renewing Our Democratic Imagination

Picture credit: President Jacob Zuma with ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr. Richard Pithouse - Narendra Modi, a politician who combines a form of hyper-capitalism that produces fabulous wealth for some at the cost of ruination for many others with a narrow and dangerously chauvinistic form of hyper-nationalism, will soon take office as the new Prime Minister of India. The results of the election that bought Modi into office should give anyone who retains a naïve faith that democratic processes will always favour democrats, or that the assertion of nationalist sentiment from within...

Hyping Up the EFF's Performance at the Polls

Picture credit: Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, courtesy EFF Supporter Website Steven Friedman - If the social justice agenda here depends on inflating the popular support and the commitment to equality of a loud group of racial nationalists, it is in more trouble than we thought. The nationalists are the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose 6, 35% of the vote has been hailed by the media, commentators and voices on the left. If we look at the numbers, it is hard to see why the EFF should deserve this hero-worship. If we look beyond them, we will find the reaction to Julius...

The Real Story of South Africa's National Elections

Picture credit: Anna-Maria Kalesoski Dale T. McKinley - No sooner had the final results of the recently concluded 2014 national elections been announced than President Zuma gave a predictably self-congratulatory speech lauding the result as “the will of all the people”. The reality however is that the ANC’s victory came from a distinct minority of “the people”. The real ‘winner’, as has been the case since the 2004 elections, was the stay away ‘vote’. Since South Africa’s first-ever...

On Abahlali baseMjondolo Voting for the DA in Durban

Picture credit: Abahlali baseMjondolo/flickr Richard Pithouse - Durban, the city where Jacob Zuma has his firmest urban base, is a hard place to do politics. A good number of the people who have attained political power in this city after apartheid learnt their politics during the civil war in the 1980s. Threats of violence are common from the top to the bottom of the ruling party’s local hierarchy and violence, including murder, is often used as a mechanism of social control. David Bruce estimates that there have been around 450 political murders...

In the Run-up to South Africa's 2014 Election, the Battle for the Future Commences

Picture credit: On the left, Ronnie Kasrils and Julius Malema. On the right, Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille Leonard Gentle - On the eve of South Africa’s 2014 general election, the outcome is assured. Despite Nkandla, the Guptas, the Secrecy Bill, Marikana and 10 years of service delivery revolts, the African National Congress (ANC) will win the election. All the talk of the Democratic Alliance (DA) making serious inroads, of Agang and the possibilities of coalitions and of the new scenario of the “born-frees”, etc., are known to be exaggerated. And yet the ANC, certainly in its Zuma...

The Dangers of Transactional Elections

Picture credit: Economic Freedom Fighters Jane Duncan - In a disappointing but not altogether unsurprising move, the communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has leapt to the defence of the censorious state broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and confirmed the de-facto ban of two opposition political advertisements for the national elections. Icasa is tasked with ensuring fairness of coverage for political parties during the electoral period. However, the fact that...