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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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Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC)

Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) is an interdisciplinary and multi-lingual (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese) series that examines the human and environmental impacts of regional integration, defined legally/politically (supranationalism), economically (globalisation), socially (identity) and geographically (borders). The series aims to link global analysis of issues associated with social cohesion, such as market shifts, immigration, environmental risk and the deterioration of natural resources, human rights, violence and security, etc., with national and sub-national studies that focus on political decision-making, the non-governmental sector and social participation in public debates, economic transformations, social marginalisation, identity, etc. Thus, the series aims to combine the international, national and sub-national arenas of politics in thematically-oriented research. While proposed case studies are welcome, the works presented in this series from all social science disciplines, are predominantly based on the comparative method. Studies that compare across geographic regions, defined continentally, are of particular interest. In addition to the scientific focus described above, this series aims to connect theoretical analysis of questions related to social cohesion with policy-based research. In doing so, it examines the role of political actors at different levels of regional integration processes and it studies citizen responses to changing opportunity structures in the economic, social and political spheres. Thus, the series attempts to shed light on contemporary shifts in the uses and types of power in policy-making processes. The issue of changes in how policies are being made is linked to: “Who affects policy-making...

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