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"The Challenges of Deepening Democracy in Post-Apartheid South Africa”. Professor Chris Tapscott University of the Western Cape Cape Town South Africa.
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Professor Chris Tapscott
University of the Western Cape
The Challenges- Unlike many developing nations South Africa has moved beyond political rhetoric in decentralising authority to the local level.- It has conformed to international best practice.- However, despite an enabling political and legal framework, local government is failing to meet expectations, politically or in terms of service delivery.
Structure of the Apartheid state-Based on 1910 Constitution.- Three levels of government: National, Provincial, Local (municipal)- Deconcentrated rather than decentralised authority.- Local authority had no originating powers and limited responsibility.
- Participation in democratic process restricted to the white population.- Majority had no understanding of citizenship due to their exclusion.- Apartheid state:- hierarchical- minority focused- not politically accountable
－ 1996 Constitution confirmed three Levels national, provincial, local
－ Extensive reform, all political and Administrative boundaries redrawn.
9 new provinces.
－ Local government assigned more extensive powers.
－ Local government: metropolitan, district, local
Problems of Administrative Transition- Publicofficials either had experience of apartheid administration or none.- Sophisticated policies but limited capacity to implement.- Training, but much focused on strategic thinking, project management etc.- Little focus on the context of training or on routine administrative systems and practice.- Bureaucracy only partially transformed. Limited skills, institutional memory of the past, poor work ethic, arrogance
A Failure to Deliver- A failure to provide water, housing or to stimulate job creation.- Auditor General`s Report 2006, a third of municipalities had qualified audits.- Problem ofsymmetrical devolution of authority, capacity of some better than others.- Tasks assignedtoo big, expectations too high in the time available.
“Municipalities must adopt inclusive approaches to fostering community participation, including strategies aimed at removing obstacles to, and actively encouraging, the participation of marginalised groups in the local community.”
1998 White Paper on Local Government
“Local councillors only use us a ladder to higher positions. During election time, they canvass our support and promise us everything, but once that is over they desert us”
Protester,Khayalistha July 2005
- People have rejected formal channels for participation in local government and have adopted methods of engagement with the state reminiscent of the anti-Apartheid struggle.
- Protest, sometimes violent, is seen as the only way of gaining the attention of the state.
“Residents told us that for them to be heard they had to toyi-toyi (protest) to receive attention from the provincial and national government.”Anna Buthelezi, Chairperson, Free State Portfolio Committee on Local Lovernment. Mail and Guardian, 1-7 October 2004
“We are not protesting because we like it; we protest because we’ve been living in appalling conditions for years. It also seems that protest is the only language that is understood by government officials.”
Cape Argus, 12 July 2005
Mass protest is a manifestation of community frustration with the pace and scale of service delivery and employment creation, as well as a rejection of channels established for public participation. It also represents a profound loss of trust and confidence in local government as a whole.
“How much confidence do you have in the following structures?”The Washington Post, et al. (2004) “Survey of South African at Ten Years of Democracy”, Table 2.1http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/Survey-of-South-Africans-at-Ten-Years-of-Democracy-Toplines.pdf
“How would you rate the overall performance of the following structures?”The Washington Post, et al. (2004) “Survey of South African at Ten Years of Democracy”, Table 2.8http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/Survey-of-South-Africans-at-Ten-Years-of-Democracy-Toplines.pdf
- In a seeming paradox, people trustlocal government, supposedly the foundation of democracy, the least of all three tiers of government.- National poll 64% vs local 48%- Despite public dissatisfaction, people still vote for the ruling party due to the indentity politics