Assessing the Quality of Democracy in South Africa
Chapter Seven. Conclusion: Review And Findings
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Conclusion: Review And Findings
7.1. Rationalisation and theoretical framework
Since its democratic transition in 1994, South Africa has achieved much in rebuilding the state in a more democratic way (for example, through its guarantee of universal franchise and its adoption of one of the most liberal and comprehensive Constitutions in the world). Given its history of polarisation and racism, violent political conflict, and extreme antidemocratic tendencies under apartheid, it would seem that 20 years on, the country’s democratic performance has thus far surpassed expectations.
However, increasing reports (in both scholarly contributions and the print media) in recent years have reflected worrying problems that have existed since 1994 but have intensified in recent years thus threatening South Africa’s apparently successful democratic consolidation. Seemingly endless examples of violent crime; corruption; dysfunctional service delivery; spreading poverty; a resurgent racialisation in society; the lack of real progress on land reform and redistribution; and concerns over continued ANC party dominance and perceived threats to the Constitution have led to a growing perception that South Africa’s quality of democracy is wavering. It was suggested that either this growing consternation is a sign of the public exercising their right to question those that govern them and is therefore a healthy expression of active citizenship, or it is indicative of a population increasingly disillusioned and dissatisfied, in which case, it is concerning especially in terms of political legitimacy in South Africa. The purpose of...
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