We in Telegram
Add news
March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010
August 2010
September 2010 October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019 January 2020 February 2020 March 2020 April 2020 May 2020 June 2020 July 2020 August 2020 September 2020 October 2020 November 2020 December 2020 January 2021 February 2021 March 2021 April 2021 May 2021 June 2021 July 2021 August 2021 September 2021 October 2021 November 2021 December 2021 January 2022 February 2022 March 2022 April 2022 May 2022 June 2022 July 2022 August 2022 September 2022 October 2022 November 2022 December 2022 January 2023 February 2023 March 2023 April 2023 May 2023 June 2023 July 2023 August 2023 September 2023 October 2023 November 2023 December 2023 January 2024 February 2024 March 2024 April 2024 May 2024
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
News Every Day |

FROM THE ARCHIVES | 1999 elections: Weighty win a comfort or a threat?

So, it’s all over. And frankly, thank goodness for that. Elections are a necessary — though often engaging — evil. It was not that this campaign consumed so much energy and resources, or even that it was so dull at times, but that its superficiality was so depressingly bestial.

“Hang murderers! Kill the rapists!” screamed the lamp-posts, representing the not-so-thin edge of a thick and ghastly wedge; next time round it will be “Chop off the hands of thieves!” Most of the opposition parties appeared to have entered a bloodthirsty competition to prove to the electorate that they were the toughest on crime and criminals; an appalling contest of machismo rather than of ideas.

At least British Prime Minister Tony Blair has always proclaimed that he is “tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime”. Here the cause — poverty — and the vexed questions around how best to alleviate it were invariably conspicuous by their absence. To the extent that the African National Congress, at least, sought to confront the real policy challenges, it deserved to win. Is the fact that it won so well a comfort or a threat? That, to many, becomes the important question for the future.

The short and trite answer is to say, well, that depends on how the ANC uses — or abuses — its power. The longer and more profound answer requires an examination of the condition of the democratic polity within which the ANC will exercise its replenished authority to govern.

But first the easy bit: it was fair, it was free, and it was pretty calm and peaceful. To those looking from afar, it will confirm their view that South Africa is a consolidated and fully functioning democracy.

06 Jun 04 1999

This exposes a central problem with elections in transitional societies: the actual electoral process can eclipse the more fundamental democratic challenges. The fact that things went smoothly does not alter the fact that, according to our attitudinal surveys, one in four South Africans would be prepared to intimidate a political opponent in his or her community. South Africa is still a deeply wounded and violent society.

Nor does it alter the reality that a culture of rights still needs to be built to give life to the values that underpin the Constitution; that the efficacy of the various independent institutions of democratic governance is clouded by uncertainty about their role and funding, and their relationship with the government still uneasy; that the system of representative democracy that has been created is obscure to many, rendering meaningless the constitutional articulation that South Africa’s is a participatory as well as a representative democracy.

For those who are worried by the size of the ANC’s victory, it should be a comfort to recognise that a large majority reduces the likelihood of a populist shift in ANC policy- making. Capital punishment, for example, is less likely to return because the ANC won so decisively.

Indeed, the central irony of the campaign was that while the main opposition parties eagerly sought to make the two-thirds majority “threat” a major source of anti-ANC votes, it is the ANC that is the more likely to protect the human rights basis of the Constitution against those ignorant fools who believe that it is the Bill of Rights rather than ineffective police detection that explains why criminals run amok.

All of this exposes the deceit of liberal democracy, according to which a free and fair election and multi-party democracy is all you need. South Africa has just proved that it has both. The fact that the opposition parties performed so ineptly that they were unable to capitalise on the decline in individual identification with the ANC after 1994 does not alter the fact that they had a full opportunity to compete.

Some liberals are honest enough to admit that it is not the taking part but the winning that matters; that it is the rotation of power — or at least the real possibility of it — that is both significant and necessary.

Even former liberals such as the born-again conservative Tony Leon speak in these terms. Towards the end of the campaign, in a desperate attempt to convince the Democratic Party’s (DP) former core constituency, and apparently himself, that he is still a liberal, Leon argued that the ANC “is affronted that there should exist in this society a genuine, confident, unapologetic alternative”.

No doubt this would have attracted the 10 (out of 12) white Johannesburg golfers who on Wednesday told the BBC that the election was about “strong opposition”. But did his reactionary “fight back” campaign achieve anything other than an increase in the (still modest) percentage of the popular vote cast for the DP?

Put in wider terms: did the pluralism of the election campaign serve the needs of the majority of South Africans? Did the ostensible array of choices serve the quest for the right policies to reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty? If so, it is very difficult to see how.

The Constitution is, in the words of constitutional court Judge Kate O’Regan, a document of transformation, at the heart of which lie various extraordinary social and economic rights. The government is enjoined to progressively realise the rights to adequate food and housing, health care, education and social security. These rights are unique to South Africa and set an appropriate, but demanding challenge.

The grand dilemma for the government is how to increase power without diluting accountability in the face of such challenges.

Hence, the search for “strong opposition” entirely misses the point. The liberal notion that rotation of power is good for democracy needs to be subjected to serious scrutiny. Why should the rotation of power produce either good, accountable government or good, clear, long-sighted policy-making? The comparative experience suggests the opposite.

My former boss, Wilmot James, the head of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, got into an unedifying row with president-elect Thabo Mbeki at the end of last year when his view of the Mbeki presidency as likely to be “tougher and [yet] more obscure” leaked out.

The clumsiness of the expression and his handling of the response to the assault from Mbeki’s office colluded with the context to permit a solely negative interpretation. I prefer a more positive one: modern government is about being decisive — and tough — in the face of powerful countervailing forces. Whether you achieve that objective by obscurity or by transparency in your political management is, of course, another matter.

Hence, the test for the next five years has two distinctly uncertain dimensions.

The first uncertainty is whether the maturation of the new system of democratic governance with its bright but troubled array of state-of-the-art democratic institutions, is deep enough to secure accountability in the use of power.

The second asks whether the electoral authority that has been conferred upon the ANC is matched by sufficient power in government to achieve what the Constitution demands of it by way of radical social and economic transformation.

Thus, the weight of the ANC’s electoral victory need not be an issue of burning concern. The ANC is, conclusively, still in office. Now, however, it must prove that it is in power as well.

In 1999, Richard Calland headed the Institute for Democracy in South Africa’s Political Information & Monitoring Service.


Как в «Москва-Сити»: цены на аренду жилья во Владивостоке достигли московских

Johnny Nelson Reveals His Wide Fury-Usyk Scorecard: “Don’t Be Fooled”

Full list of cafes and restaurants where kids can eat free or cheap this half term – including Asda and Sizzling Pubs

Move over Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham the real England champ is a 15 yr old SUBBUTEO star

Tesla under investigation over Fremont factory toxic emissions, and faces lawsuit over alleged health harms


Read also

Video: Kennedy Freeman, daughter of Ian Freeman, scores walkoff knockout at Cage Warriors 172

The Tortured Poets Department Continues Its Tenure Atop the Billboard 200

We’re living a never-ending nightmare because of HS2 – it’s like a building site… my kids’ playground has been stolen

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro

News Every Day

Move over Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham the real England champ is a 15 yr old SUBBUTEO star

Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

Move over Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham the real England champ is a 15 yr old SUBBUTEO star

Sports today

Новости тенниса
Людмила Самсонова

Самсонова с «баранкой» разгромила Хаддад-Майю и вышла в полуфинал турнира в Страсбурге

Спорт в России и мире

ЦСКА шагнул к трофею // Команда обыграла УНИКС в первом матче финала Единой лиги ВТБ

All sports news today

Sports in Russia today


ЦСКА шагнул к трофею // Команда обыграла УНИКС в первом матче финала Единой лиги ВТБ

Новости России

Game News

'Y'all killed it': Survive the Undead, a community-made PvE zombie mode, is bringing players back to Halo Infinite


News Every Day

Full list of cafes and restaurants where kids can eat free or cheap this half term – including Asda and Sizzling Pubs

Губернаторы России

"Спартак" и "Оренбург" сыграли вничью в заключительном матче РПЛ


Пашинян готовится к побегу? В Армении выдвинули кандидатуру нового премьер-министра.

Исполнитель хита “На Заре 2020” Сергей АРУТЮНОВ оживил ещё один хит из 20-го века и выпустил песню “Лететь” вместе с её создателями - группой Амега.


Певец Лоза: Пугачева проигрывает Долиной в вокальном мастерстве

Бузова поздравила "Зенит" с чемпионством

Театр кукол Бурятии "Ульгэр": Россия, Культура, Театр, Дети - Спектакль "Курочка ряба"

Все же ДиКаприо? Тина Синатра не позволила Кевину Спейси сыграть ее отца в кино

"Ролан Гаррос" стартовал в Париже

Самсонова с «баранкой» разгромила Хаддад-Майю и вышла в полуфинал турнира в Страсбурге

Dagospia: Синнер и Калинская вместе поужинали в ресторане в Париже

Последний танец Надаля и юбка Сюзанн Ленглен: 6 важных фактов о «Ролан Гаррос»-2024

Новые электрические зубные щетки Revyline RL 075 Peach Fuzz появились в филиале бренда в Москве

Электрические щетки для детей Revyline RL 035 Kids Pink доступны в представительстве марки в Хабаровске

Новая зубная паста Revyline ChocoWhite для укрепления эмали доступна на сайте магазина Ирригатор.ру

«Адвокат Валиевой: ей подсыпали допинг и сделал дедушка». Серьёзное расследование.

«Адвокат Валиевой: ей подсыпали допинг и сделал дедушка». Серьёзное расследование.

Bungie wins a little walkin' around money in first of its kind jury trial against Destiny 2 cheat maker, but the victory will likely make it even easier for game companies to keep taking cheaters to court

Путин разорвал договор с олигархами, заключённый в конце 90-х, считает Хазин

Посол Антонов: США пора смириться с тем, что РФ проводит независимую политику

В Москве произошел пожар в торговом здании на МКАД

"Ъ": дело о хищении ₽500 млн в судебной системе прекратят из-за срока давности

Стало известно, как россияне относятся к курортным романам

Необычная команда из астраханского села поедет на чемпионат России

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости Russian.city
Юрий Лоза

Певец Лоза посоветовал запевшей фигуристке Валиевой брать пример с Клавы Коки

News Every Day

Full list of cafes and restaurants where kids can eat free or cheap this half term – including Asda and Sizzling Pubs

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости