A Place for Civics in a Liberal Democratic Polity? The Fate of Local Institutions of Resistance after Apartheid

Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


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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© Jonny Steinberg 2000

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