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South African Perspective

Raymond Suttner is a professor attached to Rhodes University and UNISA. He is a former ANC underground operative and served over 11 years as a political prisoner and under house arrest.He has recently published Recovering Democracy in South Africa (Jacana Media, 2015)

Raymond Suttner

Envisioning South Africa’s ruling party, ANC “after Zuma”

Envisioning South Africa’s ruling party, ANC “after Zuma”

The African Nation Congress (ANC) politics was not always consumed by personalities or fortunes of individuals, leading to discussions over how this or that person would fare in striving for a position or whether an individual would derive material benefits. Without romanticising the past, anyone who thinks of the liberation-related politics of the 1980s will […]

What is really at stake in election of a woman as president?

  ANC politics over the last few weekends has been dominated by leadership elections. This weekend a man just one month below the threshold for membership of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) of 35 years of age, Collen Maine, was elected to its presidency. He is said to have done so with the assistance of […]

People power prevails as Eastern Cape court affirms community’s democratic right to elect headman

African customary law is recognised in South Africa today, subject to its conformity the Constitution and any legislation dealing with that area of law.   The Constitution also recognises that there is a diversity of cultural practices in various communities and that traditional leadership should be promoted subject to norms of democratic governance. The coexistence of […]

Representation: can we question the legitimacy of parliament?

In its opening words, phrased as a declaration and making known to all, the Freedom Charter embraces a claim to popular sovereignty and democratic rule, in the name of the people of South Africa. It immediately attacks the legitimacy of apartheid South Africa and simultaneously calls for a common society, shared by all: “We the […]

Scandals and betrayal in South Africa today

The scale and extent of the scandals that are being uncovered – or at least partially revealed – in South Africa today leave many with a sense of shock, even if not record-breaking on an international scale. Regrettably, despite the shock, such revelations have become so common, and stretch into so many corners of public […]

South Africa: making the case for radical political action in the short and long-term

Where should “well meaning” South Africans or “progressives” who cherish liberty and have a sense that things “have gone horribly wrong” be devoting their energies today? Where are the key points of hardship where we should be advancing our positions and joining with one another in order to move towards remedying the problems of the […]

Naming xenophobia in South Africa

“Whatever is unnamed, undepicted in images, whatever is omitted from biography, censored in collections of letters, whatever is misnamed as something else, made difficult-to-come-by, whatever is buried in the memory by the collapse of meaning under inadequate or lying language – this will become not merely unspoken but unspeakable.” –Adrienne Rich  Reading ANC MP and […]

Deepening and broadening democracy in South Africa

Arguing for a return to popular agency, popular organisation, popular initiatives and empowerment as a way of broadening and deepening our democracy does not imply that representative democracy – having the right to vote periodically – is of no value. It is true that historically representative democracy was introduced to limit the role of the […]

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