A Place for Civics in a Liberal Democratic Polity? The Fate of Local Institutions of Resistance after Apartheid
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As the constitutional transition in South Africa moved to a close, the radical urban civics that arose in the 1980s to destroy apartheid found themselves in a central but precarious position.1 The anomalies entailed in ending a racial dictatorship have stamped a peculiar identity onto these residents’ associations. Unelected by testable procedures, and with only rudimentary mechanisms of consultation, civics entered the trans- itionary process as ‘the sole and legitimate representatives of the community’. Until the ballots of all-inclusive local and metropolitan elections were counted after elections in November 1995 and May and June 1996, community organizations shared the running of the trans-itionary government with the apartheid functionaries which they sought to destroy.2 (For a discussion of the impact of local government elections on civics, see Chapter 7 by Seekings in this collection)
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