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This is the go-to guide for confused South Africans and all those seeking an informed, balanced and up-to-date analysis of South African politics and society in the Ramaphosa era.
When Nelson Mandela emerged from decades in jail to preach reconciliation, South Africans appeared to many as a people reborn as the Rainbow Nation. Yet, a quarter of a century later, the country sank into bitter recriminations and rampant corruption under Jacob Zuma. Why did this happen, and how was hope betrayed? President Cyril Ramaphosa, hoping to heal these wounds, was re-elected in May 2019 with the ANC hoping to claw back support lost to the opposition in the Zuma era. This book analyses this election, shedding light on voters’ choices.
With chapters on all the major issues at stake – from education to land redistribution – Understanding South Africa offers insights into Africa’s largest and most diversified economy, closely tied to its neighbours’ fortunes.
How To Steal A Country describes the vertiginous decline in political leadership in South Africa from Mandela to Zuma and its terrible consequences. Robin Renwick’s account reads in parts like a novel – a crime novel – for Sherlock Holmes old adversary, Professor Moriarty, the erstwhile Napoleon of Crime, would have been impressed by the ingenuity, audacity and sheer scale of the looting of the public purse, let alone the impunity with which it has been accomplished.
Based on Renwick’s personal experiences of the main protagonists, it describes the extraordinary influence achieved by the Gupta family for those seeking to do business with state-owned enterprises in South Africa, and the massive amounts earned by Gupta related companies from their associations with them. The ensuing scandals have engulfed Bell Pottinger, KPMG, McKinsey and other multinationals. The primary responsibility for this looting of the state however, rests squarely with President Zuma and key members of his government. But South Africa has succeeded in establishing a genuinely non-racial society full of determined and enterprising people, offering genuine hope for the future. These include independent journalists, black and white, who refuse to be silenced, and the judges, who have acted with courage and independence.
The book concludes that change will come, either by the ruling party reverting to the values of Mandela and Archbishop Tutu, or by the reckoning it otherwise will face one day.
Democracy Works asks how we can learn to nurture, deepen and consolidate democracy in Africa. By analyzing transitions within and beyond the continent, the authors identify a 'democratic playbook' robust enough to withstand threats to free and fair elections. However, substantive democracy demands more than just regular polls. It is fundamentally about the inner workings of institutions, the rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, and leadership in government and civil society. It is also about values and the welfare and well-being of its citizens, and demands local leadership with a plan for the country beyond simply winning the popular vote.
This volume addresses the political, economic and extreme demographic challenges that Africa faces. It is intended as a resource for members of civil society and as a guide for all who seek to enjoy the political and development benefits of democracy in the world's poorest continent. Finally, it is for donors and external actors who have to face critical decisions--especially after ill-fated electoral interventions such as Kenya 2017--about the future of observer missions and aid promoting democracy and good governance.
The 2017 publication of Betrayal of the Promise, the report that detailed the systematic nature of state capture, marked a key moment in South Africa's most recent struggle for democracy. In the face of growing evidence of corruption and of the weakening of state and democratic institutions, it provided, for the first time, a powerful analysis of events that helped galvanise resistance within the Tripartite Alliance and across civil society.
Working often secretly, the authors consolidated, for the first time, large amounts of evidence from a variety of sources. They showed that the Jacob Zuma administration was not simply a criminal network but part of an audacious political project to break the hold of whites and white business on the economy and to create a new class of black industrialists. State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) such as Eskom and Transnet were central to these plans. The report introduced a whole new language to discuss state capture, showing how SOEs were `repurposed', how political power was shifting away from constitutional bodies to `kitchen cabinets', and how a `shadow state' at odds with the country's constitutional framework was being built.
Shadow State is an updated version of the original, explosive report that changed South Africa's recent history.
"What are democracies meant to do? And how does one know when one is a democratic state?" These incisive questions and more by leading political scientist, Steven Friedman, underlie this robust enquiry into what democracy means for South Africa post 1994.
Democracy and its prospects are often viewed through a lens which reflects the dominant Western understanding. New democracies are compared to idealised notions of the way in which the system is said to operate in the global North. The democracies of Western Europe and North America are understood to be the finished product and all others are assessed by how far they have progressed towards approximating this model. The goal of new democracies, like South Africa and other developing nation-states, is thus to become like the global North.
Power in Action persuasively argues against this stereotype. Friedman asserts that democracies can only work when every adult has an equal say in the public decisions that affect them. From this point of view, democracies are not finished products and some nations in the global South may be more democratic than their Northern counterparts. Democracy is achieved not by adopting idealised models derived from other societies – rather, it is the product of collective action by citizens who claim the right to be heard not only through public protest action, but also through the conscious exercise of influence on public and private power holders.
Viewing democracy in this way challenges us to develop a deeper understanding of democracy’s challenges and in so doing to ensure that more citizens can claim a say over more decisions in society.
This book provides an overdue critical re-engagement with the analytical approach exemplified by the work of Harold Wolpe, who was a key theorist within the liberation movement. It probes the following broad questions: how do we understand the trajectory of the post-apartheid period, how did the current situation come about
in the transformation, how does the current situation relate to how a post-apartheid society was conceived in anticipation, and what are the implications of what have been failed ambitions for progressives?
A Manifesto For Social Change is the third of a three-volume series that started seven years ago investigating the causes of our country’s – and the continent’s – development obstacles.
Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing (2009) set out to explain what role African elites played in creating and promoting their fellow Africans’ misery. Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges (2011) set out to show that there were short-term to medium-term solutions to many of Africa’s and South Africa’s problems, from agriculture to healthcare, if only the powers that be would take note. And now, more than 20 years after the advent of democracy, we have A Manifesto For Social Change: How To Save South Africa, the conclusion in the ‘trilogy’.
This book started its life as Gridlocked, but through the process of research undertaken by Moeletsi and Nobantu it has evolved into a different project, a manifesto that identifies some of South Africa’s key problems and what is required to change the country’s downward trajectory.
Ferial Haffajee is highly respected as one of South Africa's thought leaders and commentators. She effectively uses her media platform to raise and discuss issues pertinent to the state of the nation. In What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, Haffajee examines our history and our present in the light of a provocative question that yields some thought-provoking analysis for the country.
From roundtable discussions with influential as well as ordinary South Africans, to research, personal thoughts and powerful anecdotes, Haffajee takes the reader through the rocky terrain of race relations in our country and grapples towards a possible way forward in terms of what it means to be South African in 2015.
Richard Pithouse, an activist intellectual who has been an important contributor to the South African public sphere for twenty years, offers a penetrating and beautifully written exploration of the escalating crisis in South Africa in the Zuma era.
Writing The Decline, often written with a view from the underside of society but also always acutely aware of global developments, brings activist and academic knowledge together to provide a searing account of our condition. It takes on xenophobia, racism, homophobia, inequality and political repression.
In a moment when old certainties are breaking down, and new ideas and social forces are taking the stage, this book offers a compelling invitation to take democracy seriously.
In South Africa, two unmistakable features describe post-Apartheid politics. The first is the formal framework of liberal democracy, including regular elections, multiple political parties and a range of progressive social rights. The second is the politics of the ‘extraordinary’, which includes a political discourse that relies on threats and the use of violence, the crude re-racialization of numerous conflicts, and protests over various popular grievances. In this highly original work, Thiven Reddy shows how conventional approaches to understanding democratization have failed to capture the complexities of South Africa’s post-Apartheid transition. Rather, as a product of imperial expansion, the South African state, capitalism and citizen identities have been uniquely shaped by a particular mode of domination, namely settler colonialism. South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy is an important work that sheds light on the nature of modernity, democracy and the complex politics of contemporary South Africa.
Mosibudi Mangena has been a life-long member of the Black Consciousness Movement, which led to his incarceration on Robben Island from 1973–8. After his release, he went into exile in 1981, spending time in Botswana and Zimbabwe, before returning to South Africa in 1994.
Triumphs & Heartaches provides fascinating insight into Mangena’s varied life, including his time as the leader of AZAPO and his service in government as the deputy minister of Education and then the minister of Science and Technology.
Mangena provides an insider’s view of life in exile as a political refugee, followed by the hardships of repatriation and the hard-won successes of democracy. He reflects eloquently on the role of Black Consciousness and its potential place in the future of South Africa, and does not flinch from exploring the disappointments of the liberation struggle and the challenges that lie ahead for the country.
In 2015 and 2016 waves of student protest swept across South African campuses under the banner of FeesMustFall. This book offers a historical perspective, analysing regional influences on the ideologies that have underpinned South African student politics from the 1960s to the present. The author considers the history of student organisations in the Northern Transvaal (today Limpopo Province) and the ways in which students and youth influenced political change on a national scale, over generations.
The University of the North at Turfloop played an integral role in building the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) in the late 1960s and propagating Black Consciousness in the 1970s; in the 1980s it became an ideological battleground where Black Consciousness advocates and ANC-affiliates competed for influence. Limpopo has remained a hotbed of political activism in the country. Generations of nationally prominent student and youth activists became politically conscientised here – among them Julius Malema, Onkgopotse Tiro, Cyril Ramaphosa, Frank Chikane and Peter Mokaba.
Turfloop (University of Limpopo) has remained politically significant in the post-apartheid era: it was here in 2007 that Julius Malema supported Jacob Zuma’s ascension to the South African presidency during the ANC’s pivotal party conference that resulted in the ousting of Thabo Mbeki.
Voices of Liberation: Archie Mafeje should be understood as an attempt to contextualise Mafeje's work and thinking and adds to gripping intellectual biographies of African intellectuals by African researchers. Mafeje's scholarship can be categorised into three broad areas: a critique of epistemological and methodological issues in the social sciences; the land and agrarian question in sub-Saharan Africa; and revolutionary theory and politics (including questions of development and democracy). Noted for his academic prowess, genius mind, incomparable wit and endless struggle for his nation and greater Africa, Mafeje was also hailed by his daughter, Dana El-Baz, as a 'giant' not only in the intellectual sense but as a human being. Part I discusses Mafeje's intellectual and political influences. Part II consists of seven of Mafeje's original articles and seeks to contextualise his writings. Part III reflects on Mafeje's intellectual legacy.
The end of apartheid in South Africa broke down political barriers, extending to all races the formal rights of citizenship, including the right to participate in free elections and parliamentary democracy. But South Africa remains one of the most economically polarized nations in the world. In The politics of necessity, Elke Zuern forcefully argues that working toward greater socioeconomic equality - access to food, housing, land, jobs - is crucial to achieving a successful and sustainable democracy. Drawing on interviews with local residents and activists in South Africa's impoverished townships during more than a decade of dramatic political change, Zuern tracks the development of community organizing and reveals the shifting challenges faced by poor citizens. Under apartheid, township residents began organizing to press the government to address the basic material necessities of the poor and expanded their demands to include full civil and political rights. However, in discouraging dissent and failing to reduce economic policy, South Africa's new democracy has continued to disempower the poor. By comparing movements in South Africa to those in other African and Latin American states, this title identifies profound challenges to democratization. Zuern asserts the fundamental indivisibility of all human rights, showing how protest movements that call attention to socioeconomic demands, though often labelled a threat to democracy, offer significant opportunities for modern democracies to evolve into systems of rule that empower all citizens.
The only book with exclusive analysis by the Pulitzer Prize–winning staff of The Washington Post, and the most complete and authoritative available.
Read the findings of the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, complete with accompanying analysis by the Post reporters who’ve covered the story from the beginning. This edition from The Washington Post/Scribner contains:
One of the most urgent and important investigations ever conducted, the Mueller inquiry focuses on Donald Trump, his presidential campaign, and Russian interference in the 2016 election, and draws on the testimony of dozens of witnesses and the work of some of the country’s most seasoned prosecutors.
The special counsel’s investigation looms as a turning point in American history.
The dramatic and meticulously researched new book from former criminal defence attorney and criminal investigator Seth Abramson into the complex web of ties surrounding Donald Trump, showing how Proof of Collusion was only the beginning of the story. In late 2015, international dealmaker and current cooperating witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation George Nader convened a secret meeting aboard a massive luxury yacht in the Red Sea. Nader pitched to several Middle Eastern leaders a plan for a new pro-US, pro-Israel alliance of Arab nations that would fundamentally alter the geopolitics of the Middle East while marginalising Iran, Syria and Turkey. To succeed, the plan would need a highly placed American politician willing to drop sanctions on Russia so that Vladimir Putin would in turn agree to end his support for Iran. The gathered leaders agreed their perfect American partner was Donald Trump, who had benefited immensely from his Saudi, Emirati and Russian dealings for many years, and who had, months earlier, become the only US presidential candidate to argue for a unilateral end to Russian sanctions. So begins New York Times bestselling author Seth Abramson's explosive new book Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Threatens American Democracy, a story of international intrigue whose massive cast of characters includes Israeli intelligence operatives, Russian oligarchs, Saudi death squads, American mercenary companies, Trump's innermost circle and several members of the Trump family - all part of a clandestine multinational agreement that takes us from Washington, DC and Moscow to the Middle Eastern capitals of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Jerusalem, Cairo, Tehran and Doha. Proof of Conspiracy is a chilling and unforgettable depiction of the dangers the world now faces.
Timeless comedies on resisting tyranny from one of history's greatest comic playwrights. Against Demagogues presents Robert C. Bartlett's new translations of Aristophanes' most overtly political works, the Acharnians and the Knights. In these fantastically inventive, raucous, and raunchy comedies, the powerful politician Cleon proves to be democracy's greatest opponent. With unrivalled power, both plays make clear the dangers to which democracies are prone, especially the threats posed by external warfare, internal division, and class polarization. Combating the seductive allure of demagogues and the damage they cause, Against Demagogues disentangles Aristophanes' serious teachings from his many jokes and pratfalls, substantiating for modern readers his famous claim to "teach justice" while "making a comedy" of the city. The book features an interpretive essay for each play, expertly guiding readers through the most important plot points, explaining the significance of various characters, and shedding light on the meaning of the plays' often madcap episodes. Along with a contextualizing introduction, Bartlett offers extensive notes explaining the many political, literary, and religious references and allusions. Aristophanes' comedic skewering of the demagogue and his ruthless ambition-and of a community so ill-informed about the doings of its own government, so ready to believe in empty promises and idle flattery-cannot but resonate strongly with readers today around the world.
Democracy was born in Athens. From its founding myths to its golden age and its chaotic downfall, it's rich with lessons for our own times. Why did vital civil engagement and fair debate descend into paralysis and populism? Can we compare Creon to Trump, Demokratia to the American Constitution or Demosthenes' On the Crown to the Brexit campaign? And how did a second referenda save the Athenians from a bloodthirsty decision? With verve and acuity, the heroics and the critics of Athenian democracy are brought to bear on today's politics, revealing in all its glories and its flaws the system that still survives to execute the power of the people.
Volume 3 deals with the crucial period of the 1950s and the early 1960s. These were years of mass passive resistance to apartheid; years when the ANC was able to rally hundreds of thousands of supporters for its strategy of non-violent protest. This was the period when the increasingly brutal repressive measures of the state, culminating in the Sharpeville massacre and the banning of the ANC and PAC, finally turned the movement away from its proud tradition of non-violence into the difficult and protracted path of armed struggle.
'The election happened ... And then there was radio silence.'
The morning after Trump was elected president, the people who ran the US Department of Energy - an agency that deals with some of the most powerful risks facing humanity - waited to welcome the incoming administration's transition team. Nobody appeared. Across the US government, the same thing happened: nothing.
People don't notice when stuff goes right. That is the stuff government does. It manages everything that underpins our lives from funding free school meals, to policing rogue nuclear activity, to predicting extreme weather events. It steps in where private investment fears to tread, innovates and creates knowledge, assesses extreme long-term risk.
And now, government is under attack. By its own leaders.
In The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis reveals the combustible cocktail of wilful ignorance and venality that is fuelling the destruction of a country's fabric. All of this, Lewis shows, exposes America and the world to the biggest risk of all. It is what you never learned that might have saved you.
The Democrats' decision to nominate Joe Biden for 2020 was hardly a fluke but rather a strategic choice by a party that had elevated electability above all other concerns. In Learning from Loss, one of the nation's leading political analysts offers unique insight into the Democratic Party at a moment of uncertainty. Between 2017 and 2020, Seth Masket spoke with Democratic Party activists and followed the behavior of party leaders and donors to learn how the party was interpreting the 2016 election and thinking about a nominee for 2020. Masket traces the persistence of party factions and shows how interpretations of 2016 shaped strategic choices for 2020. Although diverse narratives emerged to explain defeat in 2016 - ranging from a focus on 'identity politics' to concerns about Clinton as a flawed candidate - these narratives collectively cleared the path for Biden.
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