South Africa’s social contract: the Economic Freedom Fighters and the rise of a new constituent power?


  • Rachel Adams, Dr University of London, United Kingdom



Social contract, Constitution, Consituent power, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Multitude


Taking the South African constitution as an eminent symbol of the South African social contract, and noting the opinion of many that the contract has failed to deliver, this article explores the concept of the social contract in South Africa by examining two contentions. The first, that the South African social contract, or constitution, was not entirely inclusive to begin with. And the second, that the radical opposition party – the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – represents the rise of a new constituent power from the unemployed and disenfranchised populous: those seen to have been left out of the social contract. Within this article, I follow Negri’s work on constituent power, broadly taking the term to denote “the power of the people”. Through exploring these contentions, this article comes to an impasse: that South Africa’s social contract was, and continues to be, conditioned in advanced by the preceding administration or constituted power, which limits, too, the possibilities of a new constituent power represented by the EFF.


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