Democratic breakthroughs in Africa: time to celebrate?

Nic Cheeseman, University of Birmingham There is much to celebrate as the world marks International Day of Democracy. The last year has seen important democratic breakthroughs in Africa. In Gambia an entrenched autocrat was forced from power. In Ghana, a sitting president lost an election for the first time. In just the last few weeks, …

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Trump & Zuma: worlds apart, bound by patriarchy & sexism

Lyn Snodgrass, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University In recent months two highly controversial political leaders, Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma, have received harsh, intense global media coverage. Trump, a white man, is the Republican presumptive nominee in the US presidential race as “leader of the free world”. Zuma, a black man, is the embattled President of …

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South Africans take stock as country celebrates Freedom Day

Dirk Kotze, University of South Africa More than any other public holiday, South Africa’s Freedom Day serves as a symbol of how far the country has come since its historic elections in 1994. The country’s peaceful, negotiated transition from an apartheid past earned it international acclaim. It represented the new values of inclusive politics, reconciliation …

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Why policymaking in South Africa has become more adversarial

Camilla Adelle, University of Pretoria Adversarial policymaking in South Africa is increasingly playing itself out in the media and the courts. In May 2014, new immigration legislation, which has been widely contested for its potential negative impact on tourism, came into force. The electronic tolling of the highways between Johannesburg, the financial capital, and Pretoria, …

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South Africa needs a professional civil service

Mills Soko, University of Cape Town Endless factional battles, suspensions, resignations, golden handshakes, graft, cronyism. These are symptoms not only of institutional dysfunction but also of a failing public service in South Africa today. This state of affairs is a far cry from the post-1994 democratic transition which brought with it expectations of significant improvements …

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