ISBN 9780798305143
Pages 236
Dimensions 244 x 170 mm
Published 2017
Publisher Africa Institute of South Africa, South Africa
Format Paperback

Political Parties in South Africa

Do they Undermine or Underpin Democracy?

by Heather A. Thuynsma

Political parties and the party system that underpins South Africa’s democracy have the potential to build a cohesive and prosperous nation. But in the past few years the ANC’s dominance has strained the system and tested it and its institutions’ fortitude. There are deeper issues of accountability that often spurn the Constitution and there is also a clear need to foster meaningful public participation and transparency.

This volume offers a different and detailed assessment of the health of South Africa’s political system. This study intends to unravel the condition of the party system in South Africa and culminates in the question: Do South African parties promote or hinder democracy in the country? The areas of the party system that are known to require continued work are the weakness of democratic structures within parties, the perceived lack of responsibility of elected parliamentarians towards voters, non-transparent private partner financing structures and a lack of attractiveness of party-political commitment, especially for women. Experts in the respective fields address all of these areas in this book.

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About the Author

Heather A. Thuynsma

Heather Thuynsma holds a BA and a BA Honours degree from the University of the Witwatersrand. She received her MA in Applied Politics from the University of Akron, and attended the Women’s Campaign School at the Yale Law School to complete her specialisation in  working in the South African and US non-profit sectors managing fundraising, local and international conferences, event logistics, diplomatic protocol and media relations. She worked as a specialist election monitor during South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, has coordinated and fundraised for political campaigns at various levels of government in Ohio, and has taught campaign management, fundraising strategy and civic and human rights education in both the US and South Africa. Ms Thuynsma has published articles on human rights education for the UN and on South Africa’s political campaigns and electoral strategy for the Electoral Institute of South Africa. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of her own consulting firm Thuynsma & Associates, and is a Research Associate and Adjunct Professor at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Political Sciences.

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