n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Die Suid-Afrikaanse politieke omgewing : Enkele strategiese perspektiewe

Volume 56 Number 4-1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751



This article is concerned with reconstructing and interpreting the South African political environment in 2016 and the strategic implications thereof. There is currently widespread consensus that the South African political environment is becoming increasingly unstable. Some have even labelled the current political situation "a perfect storm". The resulting outcomes of this state of affairs include patterns of political and social instability, the securocratisation of the state, and a postcolonial dynamic manifesting in anti-colonial and anti-Western sentiments. The manner in which the aforementioned factors interact with each other creates a politically unstable environment with far reaching consequences for public institutions in general, and universities in particular. Until recently, universities were relatively insulated from the dynamic and disruptive political forces in society. This situation changed irrevocably after 2015 with the advent of the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall campaigns and demands for rapid transformation of the higher education sector. At the time of finalising this paper, a second wave of #FeesMustFall has commenced with revolutionary violence affecting virtually all university campuses across South Africa. Prominent political, economic and social drivers of change currently define a scenario of punctuated equilibrium in the political environment. These drivers, and their possible outcomes, are analysed with specific reference to South African universities.

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