s South African Journal on Human Rights - Introduction : political rights since 1994

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-7203
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2126



South Africa marked 20 years of constitutional democracy when it went to the polls in May 2014. Voting is a particularly significant and moving occasion in South Africa: individuals waiting in the queues to cast their ballots are acutely aware of how the majority were excluded from the franchise; and, definitively, embrace a form of civic equality where every individual's voice counts. Given this history, the five successful free and fair national elections, held in South Africa since 1994, are a significant achievement. Yet, increasingly, they are seen not to be enough to guarantee a vibrant democracy. Individuals wish to participate in decisions that affect their lives more frequently than once every five years. The political system itself is often seen to create too much distance between the electorate and their representatives and there has been the domination of the political sphere by one party since 1994. The funding of political parties is once again in the spotlight as is the democracy within political parties themselves.

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