The Challenges of Deepening Democracy in Post-Apartheid South Africa

  • Chris Tapscott


Unlike many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, post-apartheid South Africa has moved beyond political rhetoric in its efforts to decentralize administrative responsibilities to the local level. In a marked departure from the apartheid era, where local authorities had little delegated authority, the new Constitution of 1996 elevated the status of municipalities significantly. Local authorities are now recognized as a distinct tier of government with their own originating powers. Affirming that a “municipality has the right to govern on its own initiative the local government affairs of its community, subject to national and provincial legislation,” the Constitution further states that national and provincial governments “may not compromise or impede a municipality’s ability or right to exercise its powers or perform its functions” (Republic of South Africa, RSA 1996). Underlying this formulation, was the conviction that local government constitutes the foundation stone of democracy and represents the first line of service to local communities.


Local Government Provincial Government Local Economic Development African National Congress District Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Tapscott
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Economic and Management SciencesUniversity of the Western CapeSouth Africa

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