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Pass or Fail?

Assessing the Quality of Democracy in South Africa

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Victoria Graham

In recent years, growing concerns over the strength of South Africa’s democracy appear to indicate a population increasingly disillusioned and dissatisfied with the quality of its implementation. This book assesses the quality of democracy in South Africa after 20 years of democracy in order to ascertain whether or not this growing perception is valid. Since the inception of democracy in 1994 there have been countless procedural and substantive improvements in addressing historically entrenched political, social and economic problems; however, there are serious issues that have emerged relating to the quality of democratic implementation in South Africa. Two existing analytical frameworks of democracy assessment, International IDEA’s State of Democracy framework and Leonardo Morlino’s tool for empirical research on democratic qualities, TODEM, are utilised to assess the quality of South Africa’s rule of law and institutional capacity; representative and accountable government; civil society and popular participation; and freedom and equality after 20 years of democracy. The book concludes cautiously that while South Africa faces many serious and threatening potholes in the road to a fully successful democracy, there is nevertheless much to applaud.

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Table 1.1. IDEA’s SoD assessment framework ................................... 65 Table 1.2. Morlino’s TODEM framework ........................................... 67 Table 1.3. Framework for assessing the quality of democracy in South Africa ............................................. 73 Table 1.4. Comparison of three frameworks for democracy assessment................................................... 74 Table 1.5. Summary of pillars of democracy, related dimensions and indicators ....................................... 91 Table 3.1. Scores for each indicator and dimension and the pillar’s overall score ............................................ 158 Table 4.1. Republic Of South Africa General Election Results, 1994-2014 ........................................................... 172 Table 4.2. Top five parties and corresponding percentage of the vote, 1994-2014 ...................................................... 188 Table 4.3. Women in the National Assembly following each national election ........................................................ 195 Table 4.4. Women and provincial legislatures in South Africa 1994-2009 ................................................ 195 Table 4.5. Women and local government in South Africa ................. 196 Table 4.6. Scores for each indicator and dimension and the pillar’s overall score ............................................. 222 Table 5.1. Political citizenship ........................................................... 274 Table 5.2. Participation in political life.............................................. 275 Table 5.3. Quality of local government ............................................. 277 Table 5.4. Scores for each indicator and dimension and the pillar’s overall score ............................................. 287 Table 6.1. Scores for each indicator and dimension and the pillar’s overall score ............................................. 354 Table 1.3. Framework for assessing the quality of democracy in South Africa ........................................... 360 Table 7.1. Summary of scores for each dimension, indicator and pillar ............................................................ 361

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