GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS IN SOUTH AFRICA – NEW DAWN? 6/E

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In 2021, South Africa celebrated 27 years as a democratic state. The number 27 has a symbolic value in the liberation history of the Republic as it reflects the number of years spent in prison by former President Nelson Mandela prior to his release and South Africa’s transition. In 1994 Madiba magic was in full force and many observers reflected on the miraculous birth of the democratic state. In 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa similarly spoke of a “New Dawn” in South Africa, and drawing on the moral authority and memory of Mandela, pledged to turn the tide in South African governance, in reference to the dark clouds of corruption hanging over the previous, Jacob Zuma, administration. The year 2021 also saw the 25th commemoration of South Africa’s much-celebrated Constitution, lauded for its progressive and transformative nature. However, despite varied attempts by the Ramaphosa administration to instil renewed confidence in the South African leadership, local government elections in 2021 revealed votership that was simply not interested, and diverse actors who were unwilling to support the proclaimed New Dawn, and the call for Thuma Mina! (send me).

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