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SOUTH AFRICA: The Second Decade / Vol. 72, No. 3 (Fall 2005)

Ahmed Bawa, Guest Editor
Arien Mack, Journal Editor

In the eleventh issue in the series of “Transitions,” we turn our attention to the transition to democracy that followed the collapse of the apartheid region in South Africa.

South Africa’s transition into a nascent democracy has been celebrated in many ways but perhaps the most important and invigorating is the amount of writing about this first period. This wide variety of analysis spans the spectrum from euphoric to celebratory, through various kinds of sociopolitical critique to outright condemnation of the state for failing the poor and most vulnerable majority—for destroying the vision of the struggle against apartheid or what the Communist party of South Africa referred to as internal colonialism.

The article comments on the lessons learned by South Africans after the transition to an inclusive democratic order in 1994. It assesses the relationship between the elements of race, nation, democracy, exploitation and patriotism. It discusses the commitment to democracy as an alternative solidarity to that offered by nation and by patriotism. It highlights an alternative to the process of nation-building. It also explores the basis of the country's apartheid policy.

The paper understands memorialization in the South Africa of the 1990s to have been a practice which endeavored to set a moral regime of remembrance: about the past and for the future. The setting of this moral agenda was, the paper argues, crucial for the dynamics of social transition. These points are made through a wide ranging philosophical discussion around a case study, in which the question of what is to do something "in the names of the dead" is explored. The paper concludes with the view that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s (TRC) moral regime of remembrance is finally a demand for a culture of human rights, and a sanguine view of that legacy a decade into South Africa's democracy.

This article focuses on South African economic policy and performance during the period of 1994-2004. It sets out the initial conditions of the economy at the time of the transition to democracy and, examines the policy options that emerged. It reviews the country's economic record. It looks at some economic issues from a broader perspective to capture the core of the problems. Aspects of the government response are addressed. It concludes with an acknowledgement of the government's management of the macroeconomy.

This article traces the shifts in criminal justice policy in South Africa from the time of the democratic transition. Preparations for a future democratic government began with the un-banning of the African National Congress by President F. W. de Klerk in February 1990 and the subsequent release of Nelson Mandela. The newly elected government faced a daunting challenge on the criminal justice system. The process of turning an army of occupation into a modern public service is known as the democratization of the police. It aims to make the police subject to the public.

This article addresses the way in which the HIV/AIDS pandemic influences the intersections between science, power and policy within the framework of a democracy in South Africa. Among the social expressions of the pandemic are the devastation of individual lives and the stresses it brings to bear on the project of nation building. One of the most serious of all the expressions is the ability of the pandemic to destroy the imagination of liberation. It has demonstrated the consensus about the role of science in development. It has also brought arguments on policy construction and implementation.

The article explores the degree to which social welfare has attempted to integrate gender rights into the allocation of resources in South Africa. It focuses on the elaboration of a social policy framework. It argues that there has been a slower translation of political rights into social rights, despite the efforts of women in gaining recognition for their particular political disadvantages. It also asserts that inconsistencies exist between the rights-based framework of the constitution and the framework of social welfare.

This article assesses the outcome of the land restitution program in South Africa. It provides an overview of the national numbers and discusses certain problems with an uncritical reliance on these figures as indicators of performance. It looks on the disaggregated account of the distribution of claims and the different types of settlement that have been reached. It highlights the significant urban dimensions of restitution and initiates a discussion on the fit between the program and the history of land dispossession. It also addresses the meanings of land restitution and cautions against the term misplaced agrarianization.

This article analyzes state-civil society relations in postapartheid South Africa. It describes the set of relations between the state and civil society agencies in the apartheid era. It looks at the initiatives undertaken by the state to redefine the post-apartheid civil society arena. It analyzes the response of different civil society actors to these initiatives and to the challenges of the post-apartheid moment. It also investigates contemporary state-civil society relations and their impact on the consolidation of democracy.

This article shows that the emergence of transformation tensions in South Africa results from a combination of the politics of macro social and economic processes and historical legacies in higher education. It argues that problems have arisen because the tensions were not anticipated during the initial policy-making process. Tensions in the higher education sector are identified and discussed. The transformation of higher education and the policy decisions taken to effect it fall predominantly within the tension lines of equity and development, and equity and efficiency.

This article discusses the micro-policy and institutional challenges facing South Africa in its effort toward a developmental foreign policy. It argues that micro policy challenges include institutional challenges, human resources problems and the challenges of integration and overhauling systems. On the other hand, macro policy challenges include problems in the external environment, including subregional, continental and global environmental challenges. Foreign policy was overhauled in 1998 and the government has made efforts in addressing policy challenges.

From South Africa’s postapartheid elite, governing a majority-ruled polity has been, ironically, primarily an exercise in seeking to impress those who minority rule privileged… Postapartheid South Africa has been governed against a background shaped by the expectation of many whites, abroad as well as at home, that black governments, particularly those in Africa are destined to fail. The new governing elite is aware of this prejudice and its desire to refute it has underpinned government in the decade since apartheid. And while this preoccupation has acted at times as a pressure for greater accountability, it has also undergirded an approach to governing that may weaken the new state’s capacity to address its challenges.


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