South Africa After 20 Years Of Democracy: A Case Study


  • Pieter Labuschagne University of South Africa



The two decades spanning the end of the 20th and the start of the 21st Century were important phases in the global process of democratisation. The 1990s were epitomised by the ground-breaking 1991 publication of Samuel Huntington’s The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Huntington’s book crowned the global success of democracy, with a growing number of states adopting the principles of democracy. It seems that the next decade from 2000 to 2010 would be the continuation of the democratic trend with authoritarian regimes and their leaders
toppling before the “next wave of democratisation”. This notion was strengthened by a significant number of countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Libya and Ukraine, disposing of their leaders and adopting democratic principles. However, it seems that the transition from an authoritarian to democratic rule was more challenging, with the new democracies progressively showing distinct signs of vulnerability in sustaining democracy. The challenges to new democracies seemed to coincide with a wider, more comprehensive disillusion with democracy in general. The scepticism towards democracy increased at a juncture when authoritarian rule seemed to pose a real challenge to democracies, with the rise of China on the global stage. The article is concluded with an investigation into the state of democracy in South Africa in the form of a case study. The reference in the article to other countries is for explanatory purposes only.


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