Articles on South African politics

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Gold miners appear after being trapped underground at a mine in Carltonville, west of Johannesburg. Managing their safety has been a major issue as South Africa has among the deepest and most dangerous mines. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Lessons learnt from taking sides as a sociologist in unjust times

When sociologists, driven by their value commitments, go beyond the relative comfort of the classroom and engage with organisations outside the university, they dirty their hands.
Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), greets supporters at the launch of the party’s local election manifesto in Soweto. EPA/Cornell Tukiri

Why Julius Malema’s EFF doesn’t offer South Africans a way out of poverty

Understandable anger about the excessive inequality in South Africa lies at the heart of the rise of the radical Economic Freedom Fighters. The problem is how the party wants to address these issues.
South African President Jacob Zuma, flanked by ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe (left) and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa’s politicians will have to adjust to many more coalitions

A key question ahead of local government elections in South Africa is whether the African National Congress will retain control of seven of the country's eight metropolitan municipalities.
A woman cheers during Freedom Day celebrations in South Africa. Reuters/Mujahid Safodien

South Africans take stock as the country celebrates Freedom Day

South Africa's transition to democracy was based on the values of inclusive politics, reconciliation, human rights and constitutionalism. Twenty-two years on, how has the country fared?
Supporters of South Africa’s ruling ANC cheer at a rally to launch the party’s 2016 local government elections manifesto in Nelson Mandela Bay. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

How South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay may be the ANC’s mini Waterloo

Poor attendance at the launch of the ANC’s local elections manifesto shows the party no longer holds much weight with the electorate in the key Nelson Mandela Bay, which it has dominated since 1994.
Heads of state at an African Union session in Addis Ababa. They have signed up to a plan that envisages strengthening institutions and governance. EPA/Solan Kolli

Why Zuma’s ‘African way’ is at odds with the African Union’s vision

If the governing ANC ignores the calls for Zuma's resignation,it may undermine South Africa's leadership on the continent. It creates the idea that he can undermine the constitution with impunity.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Mugabe has been in power since 1980. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

How liberators turn into oppressors: a study of southern African states

It is normal for resistance movements to adopt rough survival strategies and techniques while fighting an oppressive regime. Unfortunately that culture takes root and is permanently nurtured.
Allegations that President Jacob Zuma’s friends, the Gupta family, corruptly dictate cabinet appointments have plunged South Africa into a political crisis. Shutterstock

Why state capture is a regressive step for any society

Lobbying political actors to achieve particular outcomes is an acceptable practice in a democracy. But state capture, as is allegedly happening in South Africa, denotes holding the state to ransom.
South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Jacob Zuma failed in his duty to ‘uphold, defend and respect’ the Constitution. GCIS

Zuma court ruling: South Africans witness a massive day for democracy

The Constitutional Court judgment in the opposition's case against President Jacob Zuma represents the exercise of judicial authority and expertise at the highest level by international standards.
A river flows into the Indian Ocean along South Africa’s Transkei coast, where residents are resisting a titanium mining project. Epa/Nic Bothma

Local anger is rising against South Africa’s ‘resource curse’

South Africans living in communities along the country's east coast are engaged in intensive protests against mining companies, despite rising danger.
South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan had to tread carefully to please many competing interests in his budget. shutterstock

South African finance minister forced to walk a difficult political tightrope

South Africa's finance minister means well, especially in his bid to cut public sector expenditure. But his success requires strong leadership and strategic alignment across the entire public sector.
South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivers his 2016 budget address to parliament in Cape Town. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa’s finance minister tackles wastage, boosts confidence

South Africa's finance minister delivered a good mix of macro and micro-economic strategies to ensure the country survives economic uncertainty, restores confidence and achieves some growth.
Cine Petro Atletica, once Huambo’s finest cinema, was destroyed during fierce fighting in Angola’s bloody civil war. Reuters/John Chiahemen MH/WS

A new narrative unfolds about South Africa’s protracted war in Angola

Apartheid South Africa started a war in which it could not maintain a strategic advantage. It misread the quest for national liberation and international opinion that undermined its effectiveness.
South Africans are increasingly taking to the streets to demand accountability from government. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa: finely balanced between autocracy and democracy

South Africa has never reached an embedded democratic state. Its post-apartheid experience more realistically reflects ongoing oscillation between a deepening and a reversal of democratic liberties.

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