South Africa: What Exactly Is Democracy? Are We Even Doing It Right? – AllAfrica.com
The South African democratic system has been a central part of our nation’s identity since the 1994 elections. Why is this significant, and is our democratic standing in trouble?
“Voters’ decision to not even bother casting their ballots presents an indictment on politicians, public representatives and how (little) electoral democracy serves them, and their daily lives,” wrote journalist Marianne Merten in an article about the low voter turnout in the 1 November local elections.
This year’s 47.43% voter turnout signifies a 10% drop from 57.94% in 2016, continuing a downward trend that has been going on for some years. Wayne Sussman of Daily Maverick, agreeing with Merten, writes that this historically low turnout signals “continued plummeting public trust in public-elected institutions and electoral democracy”.
The causes of this can only be theorised but are likely to be a soup of terrible ingredients: Corruption, lack of public services, the Covid-19 pandemic and technical difficulties, with a sprinkle of violence and bitterness on top. What is clear, however, is that the days of the great queues that were emblematic of South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994, electric with hope and cutting snake-like shapes along the earth, are long over.
Read the full story on Daily Maverick.
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