IDASA - South Africa's sociopolitical landscape


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  • 13/12/12 Welcome everyone Thank Oxfam Australia Intro myself my work focussed Idasa an african democracy institute, research, advocacy and training aimed at strengthening democracy The presentation not necessarily the official view of idasa, based on my experience, the experiences of our staff and our partners First reaction; General reflection on South Africa’s changing social political and economic landscape how do you give an overview of such a broad topic in 20 minutes, There is much more id like to say and many more examples id like to give, but we would literally be here all day way more complicated than that, so forgive me if my analysis isnt comprehensive Goal I am hoping to set the scene for the next few days I will try not to put you to sleep get you thinking about our work as civil society, where we’re coming from and where we might be going  
  • 13/12/12 Over the years democracy has brought many things to South Africa, but The truth is possibly the countries most infamous characteristic great inequalities we all see it best seen in Joburg / my home town economic and social disparities of the country are obvious in Alexandra vs Sandton From the heart of one to the heart of the other is 7 km, but in fact only divided by the M1 highway They are worlds apart Some people have done very well for themselves Other are still very much struggling
  • In this context what are the greatest challenges to our democracy Liberation politics causes lack of coherence between voting patterns and levels of satisfaction, Instead of support for political ideologies, support is primarily based on personalities and loyalties, Example of Ethel and the roads, voting for Mandela, election in 2010, cant vote for anyone else. So whatever the opposition has to offer, it still doesn’t appeal to the majority of voters Some will argue we have a de facto one party state - large party structures all over the country, conflation of party and state especially at a local level (ward councils) intertwined party and state structures where does the state end and the ANC begin? Lack of political competition (in combination with other factors that I wont get into here) gives rise to some negative phenomenon: Corruption. Experiences in Limpopo local government child care centres Patronage. Donors come and ask why there are big posh houses in the middle of a rural villages (shows inequalities), why it’s not vandalised: fall out. those affiliated to the party have the greatest access to resources   Legislation Extremely liberal constitution ensuring human rights – rights are extremely difficult to realise - laws for human dignity domesticated not implemented Implementation gap: great legal /policy framework but lack of knowledge and infrastructure means these rights aren't being accessed by citizens example: people with disabilities have a right to basic education SA ratified declaration on rights for people with disabilities and the UNconvention of the rights of the child right is also enshrined in the anti discrimination act but the education system doesn’t have capacity to address the situation still impossible for thousands of kids with disabilities of school going age to access schooling that then has spin off for all sorts of other rights, safety and security, human dignity etc ANC doesn’t always feel the need to be transparent or accountable And sometimes even uses apartheid-era repressive laws are to protect itsself or an effort is made to introduce new repressive legislation - example: access to information bill (elaborate) Human development– similar to other BRICS countries a liberalised economy and foreign investment, has done well, BEE policy has benefitted a few So is human development improving? – for some, not for others HDI – on upwards trend, currently ranking 123 out of 187 income, life expectancy, and education Going up why – addressing HIV, influx, income has grown for some people, and education has improved for some people Gini coefficient on all 3 SA has among the highest disparities in the world - are the disparities growing Gives rise to people like Malema (no commentary on SA is complete without him) – politically destabilising He raises the question of who’s benefitting from mineral resources people see rich bosses compared to their own poverty Marika has offered us all insight into the living conditions of many miners of course they want in on that ownership: Julias Malema popularity – why? – he offers them this hes stinking rich too though, why is he still popular, people aspire to be him.   Café Latte Society Vavi Majority black at the bottom – layer of white – sprinkling of chocolate on top 13/12/12
  • Education / Unemployment Education crisis –low ranking on world scale of education quality but high % of budget goes to education; over half of those enrolled 12 years ago, will not matriculate at all. Unemployment – officially 25% but also measured at just under 40% (education, government policy global crisis) brics – sitting in comparison to india / china or brasil that is developing as a knowledge economy but currently South Africa has generous labour legislation that makes minimum wages too high for the country to become a manufacturing destination But the lack of quality education prevents it from becoming a knowledge economy Admidst high rates of violent crime Apartheid policies emasculated and humiliated hundreds of thousands of men, many of those men turned the resulting rage and resentment of their powerlessness into violence against those weaker than themselves. Together with the visible socio-economic disparities, this has created a highly violent and traumatised society. Disparity in expectation and possibility People will be forgiven for being disappointing that many of the political promises made during/at the end/after apartheid have not materialised. The fanfair of the rainbow nation has died down, people have been left disillusioned by the failure of the government to implement political ideology of better life for all Citizens have been promised so much, and they have waited a long time for Government to provide, the healthcare, the education, the employment and housing its said it would They are still waiting to be given a house and a job at least. People do not seem aware that On the basis of 5mln tax payers, perhaps 10% of the population, there is only so much the government can realistically provide A more realistic expectation is that government provides an enabling environment, citizens have a responsibility to make the most of that environment This is the case, even in developed democracies, the government cant provide it all, rights & responsibilities in the Netherlands. Lack of problem solving skills Apartheid legacy of repression along with this Strong expectation that government will provide, has left citizens with very little feeling of ownership of their role in society And it has created a citizenry with a chronic lack of problem solving skills   13/12/12
  • The reality is that instead of immeasurable opportunity (as promised) society now offers a vicious cycle of poverty in stark contract to those that benefitted from apartheid and from the transition. There are some examples of how this frustration has manifested itself in positive civic engagement, there are many examples of project and organisations, and associations focussing on social change but the violent destructive outlets are more visible and perhaps more frequent SA has a history of protest, and they were an effective way of highlighting grievances But incidents have been growing over the past years in frequency, size and violent nature They occur most frequently in informal settlements and townships close to urban areas where disparities are greatest like Deepsloot and Khayalitsha South Africa also has a history of state violence, that has not gone away because of democracy, and this violence induces more violence from citizens Violence is met with violence, creating a violent protest culture Most recently Marikana, though not directly adjoined to an urban area, great frustration among miners in this care, in a setting of great disparity, highlighting social and economic inequality, what people don’t know is that non violent protests were taking place for a while, but to no avail, fuelled by warring trade unions, and state violence, it escalates, the minors eventually got what they wanted….. but at what cost… people are fed up with waiting - This type of action can be experienced as empowering because it’s the only way in which they can get people to listen Some people do understand there is a need for them to act to bring about change but they often do not have the capabilities to do so A lacking understanding of how to participate positively stops people from achieving change And government also lacks the capabilities to provide opportunities 13/12/12
  • how does all this impact on the work we do? Classified as middle income country by the WorldBank: impact on donor funding drying up Worldwide recession Focus of donor funding now and in the future – from traditional donors to new sources In comparison with the region   Philanthropy versus effectiveness/professionalism – CS expects to get money but that is no longer sustainable – we’re working hard and doing good things Have to be better at proving why our work is valuable To retain donor money that is out there Civic / social consciousness People don’t give back - when theres an international crisis people are happy to give but people often don’t give back locally, cs has to learn to harness this middle class income, the middle class is growning, all be it slowly, are we used to getting handouts, have we tried it all before, are we tired, does CS have succession issues and democracy issues   Changing focus Should be having a hard think about where we focus our work – part of professionalism is having a clear vision and focus, why you do what youre doing CS is often reactionary work because of the donor environment, Donor focus on hiv/lgbt/gender – garden example got to work were the money is, not necessarily where we believe we should be focussing The Promiscuous ngo Working in participatory methods where we work hand in hand instead of handouts – nuture ownership Evidence based methods to achieve our objectives And we need to become more professional Ngos are realising its our job to hold governments accountable, not just provide services 13/12/12
  • Finally What opportunities do we have to make a change? We should be moving away from handing out food and blankets Firstly watchdog role Focussing on holding government accountable Providing n environment that enables citizens to access social, political and economic rights and freedoms But also on engaging with government to manage expectations of the people Secondly harnessing the power that is being seen, the anger and frustration and turning that into something positive But also engaging the middle classes and making them aware of their responsibilities Civic education is concerned with the development of citizenship or civic competence, It means developing a set of values and skills appropriate to contribute positively towards society Agency is about the ability to act to achieve a goal that has been deemed imported to yourself and society Accessing social, poltical and economic rights and freedoms END They say that the perfect power point presentation is 7 slides, so ive not added a concluding one, but if I had it would have said, Thank you very much for your time I hop eyou can take this with you in your discussions I hope you all have an interesting, productive and enjoyable few days 13/12/12
  • IDASA - South Africa's sociopolitical landscape

    1. 1. Oxfa m Aus tra lia Voice s 14-16 Nove mbe r 2012S outh Africa ’s cha nging s ocia l, politica l a nd e conomic la nds ca pe And wha t this me a ns for civil s ocie ty 1
    2. 2. Ne a rly 20 ye a rs of de mocra cy 2
    3. 3. Cha lle nge s to De mocra cy • Libe ra tion politics • Le gis la tion • Huma n de ve lopme nt 3
    4. 4. Cha lle nge s to S ocie ty•Educa tion/une mployme nt/viole nce•Dis a ppointme nt in de mocra cy•Dis pa rity be twe e n e xpe cta tion a nd pos s ibilitie s•La ck of proble m s olving s kills•La ck of owne rs hip 4
    5. 5. Cha lle nge s to civic e nga ge me nt•P os itive e nga ge me nt•Viole nt prote s t•Ca pa bilitie s & opportunitie s 5
    6. 6. Cha lle nge s to de ve lopme nt• middle income country: impa ct on donor funding• P hila nthropy ve rs us e ffe ctive ne s s• From ha nd-outs to ha nd-in-ha nd 6
    7. 7. Opportunitie s•Wa tchdog gove rnme nt a ccounta bility e xpe cta tion ma na ge me nt•Civic e duca tor ha rne s s ing powe r civic a ge ncy 7