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.

Is there a Future for Progressive Politics in South Africa?

Picture: Alexis Tsipras of Greece Fazila Farouk - Analysts argue that the expulsions of Zwelinzima Vavi and Numsa from Cosatu, by a faction sympathetic to President Jacob Zuma, have clear consequences for a major re-alignment of labour in South Africa. Perhaps more importantly it forces to the fore significant consequences for the re-alignment of politics in South Africa. Numsa, the radical metalworkers’ union, is in fact hosting a “Conference for Socialism” this very week to determine whether the ground in South Africa...

Commissions of Inquiry or Omission?

Picture: Ian Farlam, chairperson of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, courtesy SABC Dale T. McKinley - Amongst its many other attributes, South Africa could arguably be called the Commission capital of the world. While there is no official list of how many Commissions of Inquiry there have been in the 20 years since 1994, suffice to say that the numbers are impressive. In the last 14 years alone there have been no less than 10 national-level, high profile Commissions of Inquiry - five of which have yet to run their course - accompanied by scores of others emanating from the executives and...

The Political Significance of South Africa's Protests

Picture: Protest in the Western Cape Jane Duncan - In the broader scheme of things, how significant are the recent wave of protests that have engulfed South Africa over the past decade? Are they another means of pressurising the ruling African National Congress (ANC) into delivering better services, or do they represent a new form of anti-systemic politics that promises to change how society is organised, and for the better? Scholars are divided on this issue. On the one hand, the South African Research Chair in Social Change –...

Is It Just Jacob Zuma?

Picture: President Jacob Zuma courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr Shawn Hattingh - Various columnists and opposition politicians, whether from the Democratic Alliance or the Economic Freedom Fighters, have repeatedly called for President Jacob Zuma’s head. They want him out and it is often insinuated that if he were gone, things would be better in South Africa. The latest round in this saga has been the vote of no confidence recently tabled by the opposition in parliament. Certainly Zuma’s Presidency has been defined by nonstop scandal. There have been clear...

Is South Africa the World's Most Generous Donor?

Picture: EurActiv Alexander O'Riordan - The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is most easily identifiable in Botswana’s, Lesotho’s, Namibia’s and Swaziland’s (BLNS) use of the South African Rand as the basis for their own currencies, albeit through printing their own versions of the rand. The monetary union is now over a century old and the longest standing currency union in the world. By a quirk of apartheid history, the customs union also makes South Africa probably the most generous donor in the...

Our Laughing President: The Real Reason Jacob Zuma Just Can't Stop Smiling

Picture: President Jacob Zuma courtesy Wikipedia Alexander O'Riordan - Last week’s State of the Nation Address and the subsequent fallout is being voraciously dissected in the press. Most of the analysis, however, is on what the media presumes are unintended consequences of President Jacob Zuma’s poor planning. But, what if none of what happened these past few days was unintended? What if everything that transpired down to the reaction of the opposition parties was meticulously planned and delivered exactly as our President expected. I, for...