Democracy & Governance

The relationship between democracy and governance and the realisation of socio-economic rights is an important issue for debate. SACSIS seeks to understand this relationship and identify issues that act as barriers to pro-poor democracy.

Our Laughing President: The Real Reason Jacob Zuma Just Can't Stop Smiling

Picture credit: President Jacob Zuma courtesy Wikipedia Alexander O'Riordan - Last week’s State of the Nation Address and the subsequent fallout is being voraciously dissected in the press. Most of the analysis, however, is on what the media presumes are unintended consequences of President Jacob Zuma’s poor planning. But, what if none of what happened these past few days was unintended? What if everything that transpired down to the reaction of the opposition parties was meticulously planned and delivered exactly as our President expected. I, for...

SONA 2015: Leila Khaled's Presence In Parliament Lost in Pandemonium of Local Politics

Picture credit: Leila Khaled, a leader in exile of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, courtesy The Daily Star Anna Majavu - Amongst the audience in Parliament’s public gallery for President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a Palestinian freedom icon who carried with her the hopes of all Palestinians that the ANC government would begin making moves towards cutting ties with Israel. Leila Khaled, a decades-long leader in exile of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was in South Africa, as a guest of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa movement....

A Real Socialist Party for South Africa?

Picture credit: Numsa Glen Ford - He strode to the microphone with a sash around his neck, a gap in his front teeth, and a socialist vision for South Africa’s future on his lips. “All over the world, the vast majority continue to languish in poverty,” because of a class of people that “do not produce value, but take for themselves the surplus value that the working class produces,” said Irvin Jim, the 45 year-old general secretary of his nation’s largest union, NUMSA, the National Union...

The Cult of the Big Leader

Picture credit: Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema and Cosatu General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi courtesy SABC Jane Duncan - How important are leaders to South Africa’s politics? Should they be allowed to make or break organisations? Two recent events held last month have thrown up these questions: Numsa’s United Front Assembly, held in Kempton Park and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) first elective Peoples’ Assembly in Mangaung. In the case of the United Front, Ranjeny Munusamy lamented the absence of controversial Cosatu general-secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. She argued that his...

South Africa's Freedom Journey Fatally Undermined by Continuing Crises of Poverty, Unemployment and Inequality

Picture credit: Woman walking in Langa township courtesy WBUR Boston Dale T. McKinley - Evidently, the ANC thinks that the people of South Africa do not know their own history. That’s more or less what ANC General Secretary Gwede Mantashe said the other day when addressing the media in the lead-up to the organisation’s 103rd anniversary celebrations. In his words: “We will be reminding people of their history. They don’t know the journey and the complexity of the journey. Freedom is not a destination. It is a journey.” Besides their...

2014: The Year of 'Radical Transformation'?

Picture credit: Privatemusings/Wikipedia Dale T. McKinley - Breaking news! In case you missed it, 2014 was the first full year of South Africa’s ‘radical second phase’ of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). Apparently, we are now well into a nation-wide process of ‘radical transformation’ that is definitively putting the country on a ‘new growth and development path’. For a moment at least, forget about the return of rolling blackouts, the record-breaking wealth and conspicuous consumption of the...