Post-1994 Policy and Movement Discourse

  • Heidi Brooks
Part of the The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy book series (PSTCD)


This chapter examines the discourse of contemporary participatory democracy, both in the ANC’s own documents and commentary after 1990 and in the development of public policy since 1994. It shows how the model of participatory democracy in South Africa has been shaped by historic traditions of participation emerging from the liberation struggle, as well as by new ideas about participation and development gaining ground internationally. The latter, in particular, has shaped not only the contemporary model of local government, but the ANC’s overarching approach to macro-level policy. At the same time, the very existence of a multiplicity of conceptual currents in participatory policy have themselves played an inhibiting role in its success, pulling between the demands of efficiency and affordability on the one hand, and democracy and accountability on the other. This amalgamation of influences is reflected in the local government ward committee system and in the process of integrated development planning. Simultaneously, however, the narrative of participation emerging from the ANC-as-movement continues to be linked to its own identity. Here, an enduring notion of participation guided by vanguardism has both blurred and stood in tension with the framing of public policy.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Brooks
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Political and International StudiesIIE MSAJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Centre for Social ChangeUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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