JAE Volume 3 Number 2, December 2004
Special Issue: South African Elections, 2004

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Editors: Denis Kadima & Khabele Matlosa

Contributors: Thabisi Hoeane, Dirk Kotzé, Shauna Mottiar, Amanda Gouws, Khabele Matlosa, Laurence Piper, Heidi Brooks, Roger Southall, Tom Lodge.

Key terms: Racial, Ethnic, Interpretation, South Africa, 2004, Election, Political, Party, Funding, IFP, KZN, Women, Representation, Electoral, System, Democracy, HIV/Aids, Citizen, Participation, Result, Implications, Configuration, Dominant Party, System, Challenges, Post-Election, Reform The ANC After the 2004 Election, Tom Lodge.

Under Strain: The Racial/Ethnic Interpretation of South Africa's 2004 Election

Thabisi Hoeane

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Dr Thabisi Hoeane is a Lecturer in the Department of Political and International Studies, Rhodes University, Grahamstown

ABSTRACT: An analytical framework that emphasises race and ethnicity has come to dominate post-apartheid electoral studies. In this view, race and ethnicity are regarded as primary analytical variables in explaining voting behaviour and are taken to be crucial in influencing the strategy and tactics of political parties. In this framework, South African society is considered to be characterised by such serious and insoluble racial and ethnic divisions that the prospects for democratic consolidation are imperilled.
Most explanations of voting behaviour and party politics in the 1994 and 1999 elections were based on this interpretation. The argument advanced in this paper is that such focus is misguided and flawed. It shows, through a reading and interpretation of the 2004 election, that this approach is limited. For there is emerging empirical evidence - revealed by the 2004 election - that race and ethnicity do not play a central role in explaining voting behaviour and the performance of parties. Thus the arguments embodied within the racial/ethnic view threaten democratic consolidation.

Political Party Funding in the 2004 Election

Dirk Kotzé

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Dr Dirk Kotzé is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences, University of South Africa

ABSTRACT: The paper concentrates on public funding of political parties during the 2004 general election. The fact that no regulatory framework exists for private funding is detrimental to the proper regulation of public funding so the Institute for Democracy in South Africa has launched a court action to compel parties to disclose their private sources. International experiences and comparisons are used as a point of reference to analyse the South African situation. South Africa's framework for party funding consists of the African Union and Southern African Development Community agreements, the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act and its Regulation, and the Electoral Code of Conduct. South African parties represented in the national and provincial legislatures are funded on the basis of a formula consisting of proportional and equitable components by a fund appropriated mainly by Parliament and managed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). The parties' accountability to the IEC is hampered by a lack of statutory powers.

The turnover of power in Kwazulu-Natal

Shauna Mottiar

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Shauna Mottiar is Research Associate at the Centre for Policy Studies

ABSTRACT: The 2004 South African election culminated in a turnover of power in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The province, formerly governed by the IFP, was won by the ANC. Various theories have been put forward to explain the IFP's loss and the ANC's consequent victory in KwaZulu-Natal. The IFP believes its loss has to do with the ANC's determination to win the province while the ANC puts its victory down to having been able to permeate IFP strongholds and increase its percentage of the vote in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Other factors, too, may well have contributed to the turnover of power in the province. These include the IFP's inability to shed its Zulu nationalist image, decreased levels of violence, and higher standards of election monitoring. While the ANC's eventual control of all the provinces is viewed in some circles as a sign of a party-dominant democracy, the peaceful turnover of power (albeit at a provincial level) may be interpreted as a positive step towards democratic consolidation in South Africa.

Women's Representation: The South African Electoral System and the 2004 Election

Amanda Gouws

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Amanda Gouws is Professor of Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, Department of Political Science

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the impact of the electoral system on women's representation and critically reviews the debate about women's representation in government. It shows that a shift has occurred from a concern with numbers (descriptive representation) to participatory representation where quantitative must be matched with qualitative representation. This means that more important than the numbers of women in government is the fact that their interests, experiences and perspectives should be voiced there. This shift has also altered the definition of 'critical mass' from one referring to a numerical value to one that notes the changes in institutional cultures and power shifts that are brought about by women. The significance of the results of the 2004 election is evaluated with these arguments in mind.

Democracy, HIV/Aids and Citizen Participation: Focus on the 2004 Election

Khabele Matlosa

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Khabele Matlosa is the Director for Research, EISA

ABSTRACT: While debate about the impact of HIV/AIDS on socio-economic development has been rife and robust, the political discourse around the pandemic has tended somehow to lag far behind. It is now well established that HIV/AIDS represents not only a health catastrophe but, primarily, a development crisis. Yet only recently have we come to accept that the epidemic is, in fact, a governance crisis too. Much as the epidemic tends to have adverse effects on socio-economic development, it also has deleterious effects on democratic governance. This article thus teases out the possible impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on democracy, specifically focusing on citizen participation in South Africa. Within this discourse I deal with the extent to which we can explain voter participation trends between the 1994 and 2004 South African elections as informed, in part, by the debilitating effect of HIV/AIDS on both infected and affected citizens. If this is correct, HIV/AIDS is surely contributing to one of the dangers (or deficits) of modern democracy, namely voter apathy.

The Election Result and its Implications for Political Party Configuration

Laurence Piper

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Laurence Piper is Senior Lecturer in the School of Politics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg

ABSTRACT: As a competition for both popular support and political office, Election 2004 deepened the dominant-party system in South Africa. In terms of support, the African National Congress (ANC) did better than ever. Indeed, its leadership seemed more concerned about internal left-wing politics than about rival parties. Conversely, with the partial exception of the Democratic Alliance (DA), opposition parties did worse, and appear stuck in a zero-sum competition amongst themselves. In terms of office, ANC popularity meant greater national power and, for the first time, control of all provinces. Further, Election 2004 revealed that the more the ANC cooperates with its alliance partners the better it does at the polls, and the more influence the Congress Of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)/South African Communist Party (SACP) have over policy. For opposition parties this dynamic is reversed. Those parties which co-operated with the ANC to get office lost popular support, while those which eschewed office did better at the polls. In sum, while popularity and office are mutually reinforcing for the alliance, they constitute a dilemma for opposition parties. Finally, while there are signs that broader social change will pose some class-related problems for the ANC, more profound racial obstacles await opposition parties. All this suggests that ANC dominance will grow still further in 2009.

The Dominant Party System: Challenges for South Africa's Second Decade of Democracy

Heidi Brooks

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Heidi Brooks wrote this paper as a research assistant in the Research, Publications and Information Department at EISA. She is now currently undertaking an MA in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg

ABSTRACT: The existence of a dominant-party system in South Africa has raised growing concerns over its implications for the consolidation of democracy. This paper argues that while there appears to be no real threat to democracy in South Africa it does face several challenges, and successful democratic consolidation will depend upon alertness to signs of undemocratic practices associated with dominant-party systems. It is crucial to ensure that government remains accountable to its citizens. The ANC has demonstrated commitment to democratic principles and there remains sufficient debate and activism within society to keep a check on authoritarian tendencies. However, South African politics is characterised by weak opposition parties that continue to be associated with racial identity and hold little credibility amongst the electorate. South Africans also continue to vote in racial blocs, and the existence of a dominant party and a weak opposition has resulted in emerging voter apathy and withdrawal amongst some sections of the electorate. If the opposition is to fulfil its role in safeguarding accountability and democratic practice it must regain credibility and break away from racial politics to appeal to the African community. Civil society's role in ensuring government accountability is also pivotal, particularly in the absence of a strong political opposition. The left-wing members of the ANC and its allies face similar challenges - they must work to retain their leverage and political influence within the Tripartite Alliance.

Post-Election South Africa: The Continuing Case for Electoral Reform

Roger Southall

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Roger Southall is Distinguished Research Fellow, Democracy and Governance at the Human Sciences Research Council

ABSTRACT: In May 2002, the South African government appointed an Electoral Task Team (ETT), headed by Dr Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert and composed of a mix of academics, lawyers, electoral specialists and senior officials of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), to consider the case for reform of the country's proportional representation (PR) electoral system. The latter had provided the framework for the highly successful conduct of South Africa's first two democratic elections in 1994 and 1999, yet the country's final Constitution (promulgated in 1996) had dictated that the electoral system should be reviewed, with the proviso that any change would result 'in general' in proportional representation. In the event, the ETT submitted a majority report that recommended adoption of a Mixed Member Proportional Representation system (MMP) (although the report did not call it that) and a minority report that favoured retention of the existing national list system of PR. The government responded by accepting the recommendation of the minority report, ensuring that the 2004 general election would be conducted along exactly the same lines as the two previous elections, although recommending that further consideration be given by the new Parliament to electoral system change. Consequently, now that the African National Congress (ANC) has been returned to power with an increased, and overwhelming, majority it is appropriate not only to consider anew the case for electoral reform but to assess the political dynamics which would appear to determine its likelihood.

The ANC After the 2004 Election

Tom Lodge

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Tom Lodge is a professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand

ABSTRACT: In the 2004 election the ANC obtained a larger share of the vote than ever before - nearly 70 per cent. About 200 000 more people voted for it than had in 1999, despite a decline in overall turnout. In 2004, the ANC's gains were concentrated chiefly in the Transkei, in the Western Cape and in rural KwaZulu-Natal. It obtained more than 270 000 fewer votes in Gauteng, though, despite a likely increase of about 20 per cent in the population of the province. These statistics are revealing because they offer useful indications of the ways in which the ANC has changed since its accession to power. Moreover, as the ANC's political base shifts geographically and alters sociologically, we can also discern trends that may offer pointers to the party's future.


Grant Masterson

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Contemporary South Africa
Anthony Butler