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Pass or Fail?

Assessing the Quality of Democracy in South Africa


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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List of Abbreviations


ACDP African Christian Democratic Party AMB African Media Barometer ANC African National Congress ANCYL African National Congress Youth League APRM African Peer Review Mechanism ARV Anti-retroviral ATM Automatic teller machine AU African Union BBC British Broadcasting Corporation BCEA Basic Conditions of Employment Act BEE Black Economic Empowerment CBOs Community based organisations CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women CDE Centre for Development and Enterprise CDWs Community development workers CGE Commission for Gender Equality CIS Crime Intelligence Service COPE Congress of the People COSATU Congress of South African Trade Unions CPPRCRLC Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities CSG Child Support Grant CSVR Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation CSPRI Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative DA Democratic Alliance DOJCD Department of Justice and Constitutional Development EEA Employment Equity Act ECF Electoral Commissions Forum EFF Economic Freedom Fighters Twenty Years of South African Democracy 16 EISA Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa EMB electoral management body EMN Election Monitoring Network FES Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung FET Further education and training FXI Freedom of Expression Institute GBH Grievous bodily harm GGBF Greater Gauteng Business Forum GII Gender Inequality Index HDA Housing Development Agency HDI Human Development Index HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome HSRC Human Sciences Research Council IDASA Institute for Democracy in Africa IDEA International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance ICASA Independent Communications Authority of South Africa ICESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICCPR...

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