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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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Harlan KOFF1 & Carmen MAGANDA2

The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) is proud to present Dr. Victoria Graham with the 2013-2014 Stephen P. Koff prize for the outstanding doctoral dissertation on social cohesion. This award, which has been privately donated by Dr. Koff’s family, honours a man whose intellectual acumen and human caring touched the lives of many.

Dr. Koff received his degrees in political science from Indiana University (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.A. and Ph.D.). He taught briefly at Brooklyn and Hunter Colleges before moving to Syracuse University in 1957. Committed to the development of Syracuse’s academic community, Dr. Koff remained there his entire academic career which spanned four decades. During this time, he contributed to the development of the Maxwell School of Citizenship, with a special commitment to its international programs. Dr. Koff founded Syracuse University’s academic centre in Florence, Italy. He was also President of the New York State Political Science Association, President of the Northeastern Political Science Association, and a member of the Board of the Experiment in International Living. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Koff was committed to community-building and the voluntary sector. An expert in Italian Politics, Dr. Koff often collaborated with NGOs active in Peace Movements, Anti-Mafia, and International Education, just to name a few of his many activities. For his commitment to US-Italy exchanges and his academic work on Italian politics, Dr. Koff was named Knight in the...

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