The importance of demogracy in South Africa: a reflection on successes and failures in the last 23 years of democratic dispensation
Mariti, Lehlohonolo Nicolus
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The political landscape of South African democracy has been significant to bear in determining its development and achievements. With the introduction of Constitution of 1996, it was clear that South African history of apartheid was burned to ashes, and the new constitutional order emerged to serve under new democratic South Africa from 1994 to the future. This study addresses the reflection on the successes and failures of South African democracy with the view from the last 23 years of democratic dispensation. It addresses events and activities that occurred in this process of democracy and determines their relevance and importance in South African democracy. With a view from incidences such as high rate of poverty, unemployment and growing inequalities in the country, the study also provides some reasons contributing to these problems. Therefore, the study has identified some democratic theoretical approaches relevant to understand the effective process of democracy and how does it reflect in the context of South African democracy commenced in 1994. On the other hand, the aim of this study measured the relevance and significance of democracy in South Africa at present and to the future. In other words, this study also answered questions as to whether citizens in general still consider democracy important and beneficial, and what could be some failures and successes towards achieving it effectively. However, the research findings also revealed some of the detrimental and impeding issues to effective democratic governance in South Africa. It has revealed that the issues of corruption, maladministration of state institutions and patronage have impacted negatively on the smooth process of democracy in the last 23 years. For this reason, this saw issues of poverty, unemployment and inequalities increasing higher and higher especially for the past 9 years of President Jacob Zuma administration. Moreover, this study has provided with some recommendations to the problems existing in this young democracy of just 23 years. That is why this requires good leaders, active citizens and civil society partners to play a critical role to ensure that the Constitution remains undoubtedly the supreme law of the country for smooth democratic governance in South Africa.