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Analysing voter abstention in the 2021 local government elections:

A view from five metropolitan municipalities

While voter abstention has been increasing, the findings of this report show it is a fluid phenomenon. There is only a small core of ‘hardened abstainers’ – only 14% of those who were eligible to vote in all three of the last elections abstained. As a result, most abstainers can be described as partial abstainers. On the question of the identity of non-voters, they are more likely to be young and students. They are also more likely to be Black African, Indian or Coloured than White. Income has a curvilinear relationship to abstention with non-voting higher at both the lowest and highest income groups. The majority of reasons for not voting related to a range of individual and administrative barriers. Of the individual barriers not being in your registered ward on Election Day was the most common, followed by being at work. The most common administrative barrier was not being registered to vote and this reason was particularly prominent among young people and students. Performance evaluations – that is reasons related to disappointments about service delivery – were the third most common explanation for not voting and more frequently discussed by poorer, unemployed and Black African citizens. Reasons related being uninterested and disillusioned were more frequently cited by men, amongst those with matric or higher education and among higher income earners. A lack of political alignment was mentioned in a small number of explanations overall but did more prominently feature in the explanations of higher-income earners. Publication by: Carin Runciman, Martin Bekker and Carol Mbeche

Survey of voters and nonvoters in the 2021 Local Government Elections:

Methodological Brief

This methodological brief details the questionnaire design, sample design and weighting of the Centre for Social Change (CSC) survey of voters and non-voters in the 2021 Local Government Elections (LGE). Publication by: Carin Runciman, Marcel Paret, Martin Bekker and Carol Mbeche

Voter fluidity in the 2021 Local Government Elections:

Evidence from five metropolitan municipalities

The 2021 local government elections marked the consolidation of a new era in South African politics. Most crucial were the trends of ANC decline and growing abstention. These trends have been growing louder over the past decade, but they reached new proportions in 2021. ANC support dipped below 50%, nationally, for the first time since 1994, with less than half of the registered voting population turning out to vote, and only around a third of all eligible voters casting their votes on Election day. The party of national liberation also fell below 50% in six of the eight metropolitan municipalities, bringing into full bloom a pattern of coalition-building that first began to emerge in 2016. Publication by: Marcel Paret and Martin Bekker

Country Profile South Africa

Basic information about the economic, social and political situation in South Africa

Our country profile summarises key data on history, politics, economy and society of the Republic of South Africa. It also presents basic information that will help you in getting an initial overview of the economic, social and political situation in South Africa. Graphical elements illustrate the listed information.

COVID-19 Imagefilm KAS South Africa: Our institution, our work

A short film presenting our institution and our work in South Africa.

FW de Klerk Foundation / Matthew Willman

FW de Klerk: Statesman, Noble Peace Prize Winner, Visionary

Obituary on the Death of FW de Klerk (South African President 1989-1994, Deputy President 1994-1996)

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation mourns the death of Frederik Willem de Klerk, who passed away on 11 November 2021 at his home in Cape Town, South Africa, surrounded by his closest family members.

Sibulele Mabusela / Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V.

Lokalwahlen in Südafrika 2021

ANC verliert erstmals absolute Mehrheit – Kleine Parteien legen zu

Am 1. November fanden in Südafrika landesweit Lokalwahlen statt. Angesichts der Corona-Pandemie wurden zuvor deutlich weniger öffentliche Wahlkampfveranstaltungen durchgeführt. Die Wählermobilisierung wurde dadurch negativ beeinflusst. Doch ausschlaggebend für die historisch niedrige Wahlbeteiligung dürfte der Unmut über die Regierungspartei African National Congress (ANC) sein, die durch Korruption und Misswirtschaft fortwährend negative Schlagzeilen produziert. Das Gros der Bevölkerung glaubt nicht an die Reformversprechen des Präsidenten Cyril Ramaphosa (ANC) und blieb den Wahlen fern. Die größten Oppositionsparteien Democratic Alliance (DA) und Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) lieferten indes einen farblosen Wahlkampf ab und konnten nicht überzeugen. Kleinere Parteien, wie die Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) oder Patriotic Alliance (PA), legten zu. Größter Lichtblick der Wahlen ist allerdings die neugründete Mitte-Rechts-Partei ActionSA, die den Wählern versprach, man werde mit allen Parteien koalieren können – mit Ausnahme des ANC. Auch wenn der ANC in den meisten Gemeinden die Mehrheit stellt, bestätigen die Wahlen den langfristigen, wenn auch langsamen Abwärtstrend der ehemaligen Befreiungsorganisation. Statt ANC-Dominanz gehören Koalitionsregierungen zunehmend zur politischen Realität im Lande.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

A Religiously Motivated Electorate in South Africa?

Religion has the potential to influence socio-political and economic processes. This paper explores the relationship between religion and politics in South Africa.

Elections continue to have purchasing power within the discourses of democracy and good governance in Africa, despite ample critique regarding their limitation of actually being a good measure of democracy (Diamond 2008; Elklit 1999; Karl 1995, 2000; Lindberg 2003; Ninsin 2006). A key feature of the literature on elections in Africa is a concern with the role that ethnicity plays. In particular, the literature presents ethnicity, along with growing authoritarianism, as the hurdle to good and fair elections, as well as violence-free electoral processes. There is, however, very little about religion’s role in elections, despite the generally accepted thesis of religiosity being regarded as central to the way of life of African people.

GovernmentZA / GCIS / flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 /

China in Africa: Wielding Influence in the Age of Coronavirus

How the Chinese Communist Party Shapes Narratives and Builds Influence in Africa

The new study “Wielding Influence in the Age of Coronavirus” analyses China’s response to the Coronavirus in Africa.

A Judiciary under Siege:

Reflections on the Judicial Service Commission 2021 Judges’ Interviews

The paper traces the history of relations between the judiciary and other arms of government from the Mandela era in 1994 through to the presidential terms of Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. Focus then shifts to the themes emerging in the interviews. These themes are reflective of the challenges that the judiciary has experienced in recent times.