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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Representation of Oppositional Political Actors in Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Implications of PAGAD, TAC, and COPE for Democratic Government


Political opposition in South Africa carries hope for the inclusion of issues that have been underrepresented in the post-apartheid: the rampant rise of crime has instigated targeted community responses in the absence of adequate government security services, activist litigation has forced inclusion of socioeconomic entitlements in the state programs, and national-level dissent presents the possibility of more inclusive political representation and improved legislative discussion. In the ANC government’s response to each of these novel challenges there exist formative consequences, and the articulation of the possibilities and limits of political action post-apartheid is ongoing. The state’s balancing of the pressing demands of coercive/regulatory government with ideal democratic systems of representation of and discussion with oppositional elements like PAGAD, TAC, and COPE carries immediate implications for the democratic project.

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