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Joleen Steyn Kotze

Chief Research Specialist in Democracy and Citizenship at the Human Science Research Council and a Research Fellow Centre for African Studies, University of the Free State

Joleen Steyn Kotze is a Chief Research Specialist in Democracy, Governance, and Service Delivery at the Human Sciences Research Council. She is also a Research Fellow at the Centre for African Studies, University of the Free State. She was an Associate Professor of Political Studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University until September 2016. As an NRF-rated researcher, she focuses on the socio-political and socio-economic dynamics of democratisation, political development, and political culture in non-Western post-authoritarian contexts. She was also selected for the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber's prestigious Top 40 under 40 in 2014 and in 2015 she was selected as an inaugural fellow of the Young Global Science Academy's African Science Leadership Fellows.


  • 2016–present
    Senior research scientist, Human Science Research Council


  • 2010 
    UNISA, D.Litt et Phil (African Politics)


  • 2014
    Bitter battles for survival: Assessing the impact of political factionalism in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s post-Polokwane political landscape’, Administratio Publica
  • 2013
    ‘Celebrating 40 years: The state of Political Science in South Africa in 2013’, Politkon
  • 2013
    ‘Battle for the Bay: Analysing the 2011 Local Government Elections in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’, Politikon
  • 2012
    ‘Non-racialism, nation-building and democratic consolidation in South Africa’, Politeia
  • 2011
    ‘Refugee perceptions of the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Centre’., Africa Insight
  • 2010
    ‘In search of justice: African and Western approaches to transitional justice’ , Journal of Peace and Justice Studies
  • 2010
    ‘Ke Nako: Service delivery as a key challenge for the Zuma Administration – A developmental local government perspective’. , Africa Insight
  • 2010
    ‘In search of Africa’s democratic theory: Exploring liberty, equality and democratic construction in the Cold War’, Journal of Contemporary History
  • 2009
    ‘Floor-crossing and representative democracy: An assessment of procedural democratic dilemmas in South Africa’s electoral past’, Politeia
  • 2009
    ‘An overdue appraisal: The need to rethink democracy theory’, International Journal for Interdisciplinary Social Science
  • 2009
    ‘Assessing substantive democracy: Post-Polokwane political rhetoric’, Journal of Public Administration
  • 2008
    ‘Civic culture and the Botswana democracy: Experiences from the Botswana Democratic Party, Acta Academica
  • 2007
    Service delivery and voter behaviour: A comparative overview of the 2004 General Elections and the 2006 Local Government Elections’. , Politeia

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Senior Research Specialist in Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery at the Human Science Research Council and a Research Fellow Centre for African Studies
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation

Professional Memberships

  • International Political Science Association
  • Mid West Political Science Association
  • South African Association of Political Studies