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Democratic institutions in South Africa: theory and practice

Democratic South Africa celebrates her 22nd birthday this year. In the past two decades it has seen a number of its democratic institutions tested. Yet while some of these institutions may have been strengthened through these tests, some are of the view that they have also been weakened. The socio-economic outlook of the country does not assist either with some reports suggesting a fifth of South Africans living in extreme poverty. Compounded with this, one could argue, is the role that the dominant party in South Africa plays with it comfortably garnering over 60% of the vote in the last 5 national elections.

What does all of this mean for democracy in South Africa? Understanding the transition from Apartheid and the democratization of South Africa is important. The course will therefore look at this period as well as the process leading up to and including the country’s (two) Constitution(s). It will examine the current state of the executive, legislature and judiciary as well as the Chapter 9 institutions. In touching on some of the theories of democracy, the course will give attention to an assessment or evaluation of the quality of democracy in South Africa today. Even more so, we will ask what role SA has played in “exporting” or strengthening democracy in the rest of the continent?

Lecturer: Mr. W. Seale 

Period: Term 1

Last Modified: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 16:35:11 SAST