Democracy without People: Political Institutions and Citizenship in the New South Africa

Tags: government, South Africa, ANC, institutions, African National Congress, consolidation, popular demand, political institutions, democratic consolidation, National Party, South Africans, political participation, South African, democratic institutions, Robert Mattes, Electoral Commission, local government units, constituent institutions, Constitutional Assembly, participatory democracy, political accountability, authoritarian government, affirmative action, democracy, local government, South African Communist Party, minority party
Content: Democracy Without the People: Political Institutions and Citizenship in the New South Africa Robert Mattes Associate Professor University of Cape Town Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow National Endowment for Democracy Submitted to the Harvard University Committee for African Studies Occasional Papers Series June 2005
Democracy Without the People Political Institutions and Citizenship in the New South Africa1 Robert Mattes Introduction In this paper we sketch out the broad outlines of an argument and analytical framework that will allow us to specify broad opposing arguments about consolidating and deepening the quality of democracy, specify how they might interact with one another, and finally, put these arguments to empirical test with reference to the first ten years of South Africa's democratic experiment. Scholars of democratization tend to explain the stability or consolidation of new democracies -- understood here as a very low probability of breakdown and reversal (Schedler, 19XX) -- by reference to either of two quite different sets of factors. One school advances a demand led theory of consolidation that focuses on public values and attitudes, or what Rose and his colleagues (1998) call political "software." Though they may vary in important ways in how they conceptualize and measure key variables, this school broadly argues that new democracies and their constituent institutions become consolidated only when they become "legitimated," or when an overwhelming majority see democracy as the "only game in town" (Linz & Stepan, 1996). Put another way, new democracies require democrats (e.g. Almond & Verba, 1962; Diamond, 1998; Gibson, 199X & 2003; Bratton & Mattes, 200X; Inglehart & Welzel, 2004; Gunther, Torcal & Montero, 2004; Shin, Wells & Park, 2005). From a completely opposing standpoint, another set of scholars argues that democrats are the result of stable and successfully functioning democratic institutions, not their cause. This school advances a supply-led theory of democratic consolidation that focuses on the "hardware" (Rose et al, 1998) of government. Political institutions can be seen either as sets of rules (North, 1990) or as the organizations that perform the work of government, such as legislatures, executives and courts, as well as security, regulatory and welfare agencies. Institutions affect democratic consolidation, first, by providing rules that create incentives or disincentives for various behaviors that either facilitate or obstruct democratic practice (Lijphart, 1985; Horowitz, 1991; Linz, 199Xa
and 199Xb; Grofman & Lijphart, 199X; Reynolds, 199X; Weaver & Rockman, XXXX; Macyntyre, 200X; Colomer, 200X; Reynolds, 2002). Institutions also affect consolidation through the process of institutionalization by which executives, but especially legislatures, judiciaries, and bureaucracies develop the autonomy, capacity and skills to fulfill their functions and deliver valued political goods -- like protecting rights, and ensuring transparency, accountability and responsiveness (Huntington, 1967 and 1968; Grindle, 199X; Rose & Shin, 2000; Fukuyama, 2005) and economic goods -- like employment, prosperity and equality (Przeworski, 1991; Przeworski et al, 1996; Przeworski et al, 2000). But -- to complete their analogy -- Rose and his colleagues (1998) have pointed out that, as any systems designer knows, it takes both hardware and software to make a system work. Thus, Bratton, Mattes & Gyimah-Boadi (2004) proposed an integrated, or demand and supply model of democratic consolidation. They argue that new democracies consolidate when a high proportion of citizens demand democracy, and also believe that they are receiving sufficient levels of democracy from their political regime, and when this condition obtains over time. The model uses public opinion data to measure demand but also to measure supply, not only as a proxy in lieu of good data on institutional development, but because they argue that subjective public perceptions of the supply of democracy ultimately matter more than expert ratings or objective indicators. The framework we develop in this paper expands on this demand and supply model by widening the analytical lens beyond what citizens think about their political institutions and regime to also describe a given country's institutional choices and subsequent institutional development in order to model how institutional dynamics affect citizen attitudes, and in turn, shape the overall direction of the democratization process. In other words, we use this integrated demand and supply model to develop a more specified explanation of how political institutions and public opinion interact and, in turn, develop a more sophisticated and empirically accurate model that can be used cross nationally to understand why some democracies endure and improve, and why some stagnate or decay. 2
How Do Political Institutions Promote Democratic Consolidation? The basic insight of what has came to be known as the "new institutionalism" in political science is that rules shape politics by providing incentives for some behaviors and disincentives for others (North, 199X). Within this literature, two different sets of arguments are particularly relevant to the linkage between political institutions and the consolidation and deepening of democracy. First of all, if rules shape behavior, it follows that different sets of rules send out different sets of incentives and disincentives. Thus, new democracies must choose those rules which "disincentive [ize]" whatever behavioral maladies afflict a given political system and "incentivize" corrective or ameliorative behaviors. This would include largely constitutionalized rules about the type of state (unitary or federal), executive (presidential vs. parliamentary), and elections (majoritarian vs. proportional) (Liphart, 198X; DiPalma, 19XX; Horowitz, 1991a and 199b; Linz, 1991a and 1991b; Reynolds, 199X; Sisk; 1996; Reilly, XXXX; Reynolds, 2002; Colomer, 200X; Macintyre, 200X). Second, rules ­ especially formal rules ­ shape behavior only if political leaders and citizens believe that they can be enforced and that others will abide by them. Thus, the rule of law that under girds a democracy depends not so much on which institutions are chosen (though to be sure, some institutional arrangements should facilitate the rule of law than better than others), but rather [on] the process of institutionalization: that is, the process by which state organizations develop the capacity (by accumulating resources and expertise) and the autonomy to fulfill their function and deliver political and economic goods (Huntington; 1967 & 1968; Grindle, 199X; Fukuyama, 2005). Laws designed to prevent vote buying or vote rigging, for example, will not affect the behavior of political party leaders if the Electoral Commission, police or courts have no capacity to monitor abuses, or autonomy to take action against perpetrators. Rules intended to effect a strong separation of powers will not do so if legislators lack the necessary research base or the political space to put critical questions about government policy to cabinet ministers. The good intentions of authorizing the Finance Ministry to hold the line on government spending go for naught if economic planners lack the necessary skills in budget analysis, modeling and projection or planners are constantly subjected to pressures from Cabinet members or influential legislators to fund pet projects or 3
subsidize key political constituencies. And plans to finance infrastructural development through local property taxes will only succeed if citizens think that municipal councils, courts and police will actually make them pay these taxes. Institutional theorists have derived a system of explicit propositions or hypotheses about the impacts of institutional choice across a wide range of elite behaviors spanning from such fundamental issues as ending civil strife or dictatorial rule by inducing elite entrance into negotiations, elite agreement on a constitutional settlement, or elite compliance with that agreement, to more mundane issues like cabinet formation, legislative voting, government duration, policy demands, political party campaign appeals [and?] party formation (see the various offerings in Reynolds, 2002 for a sampling). They have developed similar offerings about the impact of institutional development on the ability of government to ensure transparency, accountability or economic growth, inflation and unemployment (Huntington, 1968; Lijphart, 199X; Grindle, 199X; Fukuyama, 2005). Yet analysts in this school have been far less explicit in terms of specifying how institutional choice or institutionalization affects the democratization process through their impact on the behavior of ordinary citizens. In a sense, one could be excused for attributing to the institutionalist school an extreme claim about this link: that is, elite behavior simply matters more than mass behavior. That is, getting the institutions right is not only a necessary condition for democratic consolidation, it is also a sufficient one. One variant of this claim might hold that, in terms of the demand-supply model set out above, demand simply does not matter. Another variant, with a longer academic pedigree, is that strong, effective and autonomous institutions are necessary not only because popular demand for democracy is typically low, but because if left to their own devices mass publics will willingly support a whole range of undemocratic measures against unpopular minorities, or gladly surrender their rights and liberties during a crisis in return for stability and security (Madison, Hamilton & Jay, 19XX; Berelson et al, 195X; Prothro & Grigg, 196X; Converse, 1970). However, based on their emphasis on the logic of incentives and disincentives, we doubt that few, if any of the neo-institutional school of institutional design and democratization would embrace such an extreme position. Its just that few 4
institutionalists appear to have explicitly thought through the linkages between institutional design and mass behavior and opinion. Rather, most institutionalists appear to advance, if only by default, a strong claim which is as follows: to the extent that popular demand for democracy and good governance matter, wise institutional choice and effective institutionalization will create a supply of political and economic goods sufficient to generate that demand. An examination of the underlying (and implicit) logic yields two possible mechanisms by which this might happen. The first mechanism is direct. By setting out and enforcing rules and by supplying a range of desired political and economic goods, democratic institutions satisfy citizen needs and provide incentives for citizens to cooperate peacefully with one another, participate in peaceful democratic procedures, refrain from political violence, refrain from supporting "anti-system" political parties, and accept the decisions and comply with the obligations of the democratic government and state agencies. In other words, getting the institutions right creates a demonstration effect that democracy simply works better than other content[d]ing regimes, and citizens will be more likely to prefer democracy to alternative regimes and more likely to be satisfied with its output. Thus, analysts have examined the impact of alternative rules on popular trust (Norris, 1999), and satisfaction with democracy (Anderson & Guillory, 200X; Bratton & Cho, 2005). Others have focused on which democratic institutions are more likely to represent the `median' voter (Colomer, 200X). Getting the institutions right is also said to shape specific citizen behaviors such as voter turnout (Dalton, 199X; Norris, 2003). The second mechanism is indirect: a "learning by doing" "knock-on" effect of political institutions that draws its roots back to the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill. That is, the very act of working with other citizens, contacting officials, taking part in elections, and fulfilling duties to the democratic state should ­ if repeated -inculcate normative loyalty to the democratic regime as well as other positive personality traits vital to democracy such as internal efficacy and cognitive engagement with politics (Putnam et al, 1993; Bratton, 199X; Hadenius, 2001). In this paper, we study this interaction primarily from the standpoint of institutional rather than psychological theory as a way to test its implied expectations. South Africa is widely seen as a leading success story of democratic transition and this 5
success is generally attributed to the choice, innovation and development of its political institutions (e.g. Klug, 200X; Sunstein, 200X). Thus, we ask whether South Africa's choices of new political institutions and process of institutionalization over its first ten years of democracy have actually had the anticipated effects of generating popular demand for democracy and good governance and creating an engaged democratic citizenry. Institutional Choice and Institutionalization in South Africa Beginning in the late 1980s, South Africa's leaders successfully steered the country out of the shadow of apparently irreconcilable conflict and unavoidable racial or ethnic civil war to create a common democratic nation. The individual characteristics of leaders like Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Cyril Rampahosa and Roelf Meyer are popularly seen as the keys to this "miracle" (Waldmier, 199X; Sparks, 199X). However, we want to focus on the rules, organizations and processes of institutional development that leaders such as these helped create and set in motion. To understand the particular role of political rules and organization in the South African experience, at least two preliminary observations are in order, both of which might seem counterintuitive given the popular image of the country's apartheid regime. First, South Africa's political tradition has been marked by a longstanding commitment to the concept of the rule of law (Mathews, XXXX??; Butler, Elphick & Welsh, 198X; Giliomee, 200X; Dugard, XXXX??). The system of apartheid was nothing if not rule-based; virtually every act of separation, removal, disenfranchisement, discrimination, banning, or detention carried out by the state could be located in or derived from an Act of Parliament (Gibson & Gouws, 1996).2 Second, the South African state has always been characterized far more by principles of Weberian rational-legalism rather than the neo-patrimonialism common to large parts of subSaharan Africa, and thus best described by Schmitter's regime-type of bureaucratic-authoritarianism (Bratton & Van de Walle, 1997). Taken together, these two points help account for why South Africa's transition away from apartheid toward multi-party democracy ultimately resembled the Iberian and Latin American path of protracted negotiations and pacts rather than African modal 6
paths of sharp disjuncture followed by national conferences or rapid movement to early elections (Bratton & Van de Walle, 1997) or for that matter the transitional paths characteristic of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (McFaul, 200X). Starting in the late 1980s, the leaders of the National Party and African National Congress began a highly scripted process that began with tentative contacts in exotic locales like Paris and Dakar, advanced to "talks-about-talks," and then shifted to full scale negotiations that produced a series of key pre-constitutional pacts such as the Pretoria and Groote Schuur Minutes (1991) and the National Peace Accord (1993), and eventually an interim (1994) and final constitution (1996). These agreements not only spelt out how each pact would lead to the next one, but also produced a web of often novel rules and institutional devices. Between 1991 and 1994, negotiators designed and agreed to a Transitional Executive Council, a founding election on the basis of proportional representation, a transitional Independent Electoral Commission, an interim Government of National Unity and Governments of Provincial Unity, transitional Local Government Councils, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a new Constitutional Court, and a Constitutional Assembly. The Constitutional Assembly, in turn, produced agreement on final national, provincial and local governments, and a final court system, but also new devices such as a National Council of Provinces and a plethora of permanent, independent watchdog agencies such as the Independent Electoral Commission and Human Rights Commission. Yet the South African passion for institutional innovation was still not sated; since 1996 the constitutional landscape has been complemented by a range of new enforcement institutions like a National Directorate for Public Prosecutions, [and the] Office for Serious Economic Offenses. This infatuation with institutional design is now matched by a new enthusiasm for institutionalization. That is, while the government has undertaken a home grown program of structural reform that has rolled back the scope of the state and reduced its role in many areas of economic regulation, it has simultaneously taken steps to increase the strength of the state (for more on this distinction, see Fukuyama, 2005). Since 1995, the government has initiated a wide range of programs ­ often in partnership with international donors -- to enhance state expertise and capacity at national, 7
provincial and local levels in policy-making, revenue collection, spending and policy implementation, and prosecution. Finally, the government has also been involved in significant attempts to increase the reach of the state, introducing police, justice and other service agencies to deep rural areas. But, fortunately or unfortunately, national constitutions and processes of institutional development are rarely designed, even in part, by political scientists. Thus before we proceed to assess the impact of South Africa's institutions and asking whether or not they "worked," it is necessary to know something about the thinking of local institutional designers. Andrew Reynolds' (2005) analogy of the constitutional designer as clinical physician guides us to ask a series of questions. First, what did they diagnose as the most important political, social and economic maladies afflicting South Africa? Second, what were their prognoses for the future trajectory of the country? And third, what were their institutional prescriptions? And what did they expect to happen as a consequence of adopting these institutions? Answering these questions, however, is not as simple as it might seem. A prominent characteristic of South Africa's transition was the extent of the disagreement over the nature of the country's afflictions as well as their cure, or what Donald Horowitz (1991) called the "conflict about the conflict." South Africa's political doctors proceeded from extremely divergent diagnoses of and prognoses of the body politic, and thus proposed often mutually exclusive prescriptions. This debate can be parsimoniously divided into three different schools of thought. South Africa as an Apartheid Society Consisting of church organizations, civil right groups, civil society organizations, legal scholars and the official white parliamentary opposition, the first school diagnosed the malady of South Africa of the late 1980's as the system of legalized racial discrimination and exclusion known as apartheid. Apartheid denied legal citizenship in the land of their birth to millions, deprived them of political freedom and rights, marginalized them from the political and economic life of the country, subverted the rule of law to repress black protest and insurgency, delegitimized state institutions and eroded respect for law, and created a deep sense of inter-racial hatred and desire for retribution. 8
While pessimistic, its prognosis for the country did hold out the hope of advancing toward a common, normal society. Its institutional prescriptions focused on dismantling the web of apartheid laws,[and] structures and replacing them with laws guaranteeing political equality and freedom, political representation in a common South Africa and outlawing discrimination. And to ensure that the country did not simply slide from a racial oligarchy into a dictatorship that governed in the name of the black majority yet oppressed both blacks and whites, this school prescribed a series of constitutionally entrenched individual and minority rights, replacing parliamentary sovereignty with constitutional sovereignty. Finally, minority rights were also to be safeguarded by some form of federalism. This school's liberal commitment to justice also necessitated thinking about some process to investigate and punish crimes committed by individuals under apartheid balanced with the concern for tearing the country apart led to calls for a truth and reconciliation commission (Slabbert & Welsh, 198X; Louw & Kendall, 198X; Adam & Moodley, 199X; Boraine & Levy, 199X). South Africa as A Deeply Divided Society The second school was composed of a loose marriage between the ruling National Party and international and domestic political scientists who studied ethnic politics. It clearly recognized that apartheid had to be removed but tended to diagnose apartheid not as the genesis of the country's problems but rather a symptom (albeit misguided) of these problems. It also contended that South Africa was not a normal society, but in contrast to the liberal approach, its prognosis questioned whether the polity could ever evolve into a common nation governed under a single, majoritarian democratic system. South Africa was not simply composed of a plurality of different ethnic and racial groups, but was a deeply divided society with little shared national identity in which well-defined communal groups claimed, mobilized and contended for political power over the same territory and where the state tends to be the vehicle of the currently dominant group. For such a society, the liberal school's prescriptions were not only insufficient, but might make things worse. Rather, divided societies could only sustain democratic rule through a complex system of power sharing between well defined communal groups The most prominent of these international analysts, Arend Lijphart, prescribed a 9
combination of four institutional devices: (1) proportionality, both in terms of electoral rules as well as the composition of government, civil service and budgetary expenditures; (2) a grand coalition of all key groups in the cabinet or collective executive; (3) minority vetoes; and (4) segmental autonomy, possibly through some form of ethnically based federalism.3 In direct contrast to the first school's prescription of nation-building through integration and increased intra group contact, consociationalism advocates keeping groups apart as far as possible, leaving inter group negotiations in the hands of a small group of enlightened leaders (Rabushka & Shepsle, 197X; Hanf, 198X; Giliomee & Schlemmer, 198X; Lijphart, 1985; and Horowitz, 1991; E&NP piece on EU).4 South Africa as a Post colonial society Consisting of the South African Communist Party, the African National Congress and international and local Marxist oriented scholars, a third, quite divergent viewpoint saw apartheid less as a unique creation of Afrikaner nationalism than as a variant of a much larger dynamic of international capitalism and colonialist oppression and categorizing the country's experience since independence in 1910 as "colonialism of a special type." Viewed through these lenses, the fundamental societal maladies were diagnosed as (racialized) capitalist exploitation of the black working class, underemployment, under-education and poverty, which turned blacks into "subjects" rather than citizens (Rodney, 19XX; O'Meara, 199X; Mamdani, 199X). Its prognosis predicted that simply removing the legal structure of apartheid would leave the white middle class in control of the commanding heights of the economy and do nothing about black underdevelopment. To be sure, this school's prescriptions included the removal of apartheid but was deeply suspicious of the institutions of "bourgeois" democracy in the first place, and even more suspicious of liberal or conservative proposals (such as exotic electoral rules, federalism, and supermajorities) designed to protect individual or minority rights as thinly disguised methods to limit and entrap black or working class aspirations. Rather, this school prescribed essentially majoritiarian rules that would ensure the political "hegemony" of the African people, the working class, and their political representative the African National Congress. It recommended basic Westminster parliamentarianism 10
and a unitary state in order to achieve a strong state with minimal limits that could ensure economic delivery, social transformation and nation-building. South Africa's Constitutional Settlement Describing the entire result of South Africa's constitutional negotiation process is beyond the scope of this paper. But three important generalizations are necessary to proceed. First, it is true that the ANC made some important concessions of lasting consequence such as proportional representation electoral rules and constitutionally entrenched provincial governments with constitutionally defined powers. Second, the Interim Constitution adopted in late 1993 contained a number of other temporary ANC concessions to the National Party and other minority parties but which had no lasting consequence because they were either ignored in practice once the ANC won the 1994 election, or eliminated by the ANC-dominated Constitutional Assembly from the final constitution. For example, the ANC agreed to a Government of National Unity based on a proportional cabinet in which all parties with 10 percent of the vote were represented and all parties with 20 percent of the vote able to appoint a Deputy President, and which would operate in the spirit of consensus. But after just two years of operation, the National Party members realized that the ANC had little intention in consulting them on anything of real importance, and also saw that the Constitutional Assembly was ready to scrap the entire idea, and thus walked out. With regard to federalism, the interim document gave some significant exclusive and concurrent powers to the federal provinces including writing their own constitutions. But the ANC never exercised any of these powers in the provinces it controlled, and the Constitutional Assembly removed all exclusive powers from the final constitution. In terms of local government, the interim constitution provided a large number of relatively small local government units, with a two tiered system in metropolitan areas, and over-representation for white voters in most councils (though for historical reasons, black areas were effectively overrepresented in the Western Cape). But the two tiered system of metropolitan municipal government was abandoned in the final constitution in favor of "mega cities" run by executive mayors, and the total number of local governments was severely reduced thus increasing the size but decreasing the accountability of local government. 11
Third, the National Party failed to obtain most of its key demands. It had wanted the Constitution to be written by CODESA, a non-elected body equally representing 19 different political organizations of vastly varying size and legitimacy, a collective and revolving presidency, a proportional cabinet that made decisions by consensus (effectively allowing minority party vetoes), and over-representation of minor parties in the upper legislative chamber. And once it conceded that CODESA would only write an interim constitution, it demanded legislative super-majorities of 70 percent (and even 75 percent on fundamental rights) to ratify or amend the final constitution. None of these demands came to fruition. What ultimately resulted from six long [years?] of constitution-making was a relatively majoritarian, very centralized system with few veto players (Tsebelis, 199X) which enables a majority party to do what it wants with little effective opposition. Why did this happen? First of all, the South African transition was not characterized by a power symmetry between the government and opposition. It is true that a mutual perception of a "hurting stalemate" (Zartmann, 19XX) in the military struggle originally drove the National Party and African National Congress into each other's arms, and a sense of power symmetry characterized early negotiations, with the ANC strength lying in its popular support, and the National Party's in its control of the military, civil service and business community. But once the competition shifted to electoral politics, the ANC soon gained the upper hand as several factors conspired to shred any "veil of ignorance" (Rawls, 1974) that might have created a sense of uncertainty as to how each party would fare as a result of negotiations. The sheer demographics of the country appeared to guarantee the ANC a sizable election victory if it could monopolize the black vote. And when negotiations broke down in 1992 and 1993, the ANC was able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets to force the government to accede to its negotiating demands. And finally, negotiations proceeded in the presence of a plethora of pre-election surveys conducted by government agencies, research institutes and media organization beginning as early as 1989. These surveys initially provided the National Party with some hope of at least denying the ANC a clear majority. But as the De Klerk government appeared increasingly unable or unwilling to do anything about the violence that was tearing the country apart, opinion 12
polls showed the ANC moving toward a resounding victory and the NP acceded to ANC demands simply as a way to get to elections before its support completely evaporated (Mattes, 1994). Finally, the supposed reserve pools of NP influence, based on [i]ts apparent control of the civil service, the military and the business community, quickly evaporated as each abandoned the NP after the 1994 election and moved to curry favor with the new ANC government (Waldmeir, 1997). The ANC's Theory of Governance What did the African National Congress want to achieve with the institutions that it secured from the constitutional negotiations? What did it want to deliver, or supply? And to [delete "to"] what kinds of public demands was this meant to generate, if any? To say that the African National Congress is an ambitious organization is a massive understatement. Its goal was nothing less than the fundamental transformation of South African society reshaping a breathtaking cross-section of political, economic and social life.5 Achieving this goal, however, required first and foremost a strong, efficient and legitimate state in order to: · eliminate the vast divides within the South Africa populace by creating political and economic [??], reducing economic inequalities, and creating national unity; · end minority control and privilege, politically, through the introduction of representative and accountable, but majoritarian democratic institutions and the transformation of the public service, and economically through affirmative action and black economic empowerment; · eliminate widespread destitution through redistributive taxation and spending to provide public services (such as education, health care, water, sewerage, housing and welfare grants) and job opportunities; · and provide dignity and freedom to the previously oppressed through economic empowerment, but also by providing political rights and liberties, and by enabling people to participate in political and economic decision making. 13
Another way of putting this is that the ANC wanted to deliver a range of political and economic goods in order to generate amongst citizens a strong sense of national identity, government legitimacy, and participatory citizenship. As it turns out, these goals correspond quite well with an analytic framework developed by political scientists to categorize and understand public opinion (Almond & Verba, 1962; Norris, 199X). We can categorize the intentions of institutional designers and empirically assess their impacts on citizen perceptions of supply and demand across four distinct levels of analysis: political community, the political regime, government institutions, and the individual citizen. At the level of political community, the ANC has been explicitly and actively concerned with a project of nation-building. In reaction to the apartheid divisions of the populace into four population groups along racial lines, and the subdivision of black South Africans into nine separate ethnic homelands, the ANC has endeavored to create a single citizenship within a unitary territorial entity that would generate a feeling of national unity and a common loyalty to the new state (Johns & Davis, 1991; 303). Moreover, the ANC has consistently seen this project as essentially one of attitudinal conversion effecting a new national identity, or what it has variously called a "shared sense of South Africanness" (ANC, 1992), a "broad South Africanism" (ANC, n.d.-c) or "the over-arching identity of being South African (ANC, 1997a). At the same time, the ANC did not believe that this process of attitude change required the destruction of existing sub-national identities. It recognized the vast cultural, religious and linguistic diversity of South African society and often went out of its way to assert that it would work to protect cultures and give equal status to eleven different national languages (including the European languages of English and Afrikaans) (Johns & Davis, 1991; 303). This new over-arching national identity was to be achieved through a common citizenship and Equal Rights, and the avoidance of ethnically defined federalism, but also through the promotion through [delete this phrase] the state's active promotion of symbols such as a new national flag, new place names, holidays, coat of arms, and national medals through the national news media and in the schools, as well as through aiding the development of museums, heritage sites, arts, and promoting equal status of all languages (ANC, 1992 & 2002b). 14
Yet ANC thinking on the subject of nation-building was not without internal tension. Even while the ANC envisioned nation-building fundamentally as a function of attitude change, many in the party tended to equate it with socio-economic change, or at least rooted attitudinal change deeply in changes in material conditions. The very same 1992 policy document that saw a basic ANC objective "To encourage the flourishing of the feeling that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, [and] to promote a common loyalty to and pride in the country" also flatly stated: "We cannot have a nation if half the people live in darkness, half in light" (ANC, 1992, Parts 1, 6). The party's 1994 election platform document, the Reconstruction and Development Plan, saw nation-building in terms of a common development effort aimed at eliminating first and third world divides (ANC, 1994a: Parts 1.3.5-1.3.6). Elsewhere, ANC thinkers argued that "the starting point is the reconstruction and development that will create the material basis for nation building. As long as our people are divide by a wide social and economic gap, which is reflected in racial, geographical and gender terms, nation building will be difficult to achieve" (ANC, 2002b, Part 162). This line of thinking was perhaps best illustrated in then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki's speech to Parliament in 1999 where he argued that "nation building is the construction of the reality and the sense of common nationhood which would result from the abolition of disparities in the quality of life among South Africans based on the racial, gender and geographic inequalities we all inherited from the past." Another tension arose from the fact that while the ANC was committed to the tenet, first articulated in its 195X Freedom Charter, that "South Africa belongs to all who live in it," (Johns & Davis, 1991: 81), some ANC thinkers questioned the usefulness of the "Rainbow Nation" imagery first advanced by Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela and called for a "a continuing battle to assert African hegemony in the context of a multicultural and nonracial society" arguing rather that all parts of the rainbow should form "a new African nation" (ANC, n.d.-c, Part 7). In this sense, nation building was seen in a quite different light, as a task of "building an African nation on the southern tip of the continent." (ANC, 1997a; also ANC, 2002b, Part 5). At the level of the political regime, the commitment to a democratic form of government has been a principal theme of ANC thinking for at least forty years, as 15
articulated in the widely repeated phrase of the Freedom Charter: "the people shall govern" (Johns & Davis, 1991: 8). More specifically, this has meant a commitment to popularly based, elected government which is accountable and accessible, but also reflects the will of the majority (ANC, 1991). That said, however, the ANC has tended to pursue a particular variant of democracy and democratization. Due to years of ascriptively defined minority rule, the ANC has understandably emphasized building a government that reflects the "will of the majority," rather than thinking of ways to protect minority rights or ensuring minority influence. Its notion of "the majority" has tended to be static and monolithic (rather than fluid and cyclical), much as its idea of "the people" has tended to be collective and monolithic (rather than a collection of disparate individual interests). Thus, it focused on getting an electoral system that would create a legislature "representative of the people as a whole" (ANC, 1991), rather than one with clear links to identifiable constituencies. And, as noted above, it entered constitutional negotiations with a strong suspicion of mechanisms that might give influence to political minorities such as super-majorities, federalism or proportional representation in the executive cabinet. Indeed, it saw the process of democratization not simply as achieving a free and fair founding election and producing a popularly elected government, but as a much larger process of systematically eliminating minority control and privilege (ANC, 1994a, Part 1.3.7). The ANC also distinguished between what it saw as indirect, "representative" democracy and direct, "participatory" democracy. While representative democracy would be supplied by elections, the ANC has tried to channel popular participation through informal or extra-electoral and extra-legislative forums rather than formal electoral or legislative mechanisms (ANC, n.d.-a, Part 5; ANC, 1997a). The ANC's quest to deliver democracy has been made even more daunting because its own conception of democracy has consistently combined political and civil rights with notions of economic democracy (Johns & Davis, 1991: 8). As a 1997 party document declared: "Democracy and development are intertwined and one cannot be separated from the other" (ANC, 1997a). ANC officials and documents have often spoke of "democratizing the economy" or "democratizing society." Thus, the political equality enshrined in the constitution, protected by the courts, and manifested in the 1994 election 16
was only a first step toward what the ANC thought of as democracy and the party called on the national and provincial legislatures to "establish legislation and programmes which ensure substantive equality rather than formal equality" (ANC, 1994a, 5.4.1). Thus, supplying democracy not only entailed free and fair elections and civil liberties and political rights, but providing economic equality and economic emancipation. Yet while the ANC devoted a significant degree of official consideration to changing popular attitudes to achieve the goal of nation-building and legitimize the idea of the South African political community, there is no evidence that the party thought it necessary to change popular attitudes to legitimize the idea of a democratic South Africa. To the extent that they thought about it, democratic consolidation was signified by the absence of counter-revolutionary forces.6 On one hand, this paucity of thinking implies that the party's thinkers assumed that people naturally preferred democracy as a political regime. On the other hand, leading ANC officials worried that democracy could easily lose mass support if the democratically elected government failed to deliver economically. Nelson Mandela, for example, justified the party's massive Reconstruction and Development Programme by arguing that "Democracy will have little content, and indeed, will be short lived if we cannot address our socio-economic problems with an expanding and growing economy" (ANC, 1994a: Preface). Or as a 1997 party discussion document put it: "No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life" (ANC, 1997b, Part 1.2.7). Thus, if only by default, the party did have some basic awareness of the issue of democratic legitimacy, but saw it turning sharply on the issue of economic delivery. At the level of government institutions, the African National Congress has had a long-standing commitment to the aggressive use of state power to remedy the country's political, social and economic inequalities (Johns & Davis, 1991: 9). This required the development of a strong, effective and competent government capable of overcoming the legacies of apartheid colonialism and carrying out the long list of DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES the ANC intended it to carry out. Indeed, given its substantive view of democracy, state-building was seen not only as a key aspect of generating state legitimacy but as an essential part of the entire democratization process: 17
"Democratization requires modernizing the structures and functioning of government in pursuit of the objectives of efficient, effective, responsive, transparent and accountable government" (ANC, 1994a, Part 5.2.4). The challenge of building a state that could supply social and economic delivery has been a constant priority of the ANC since taking office. Immediately after coming to power, the ANC began to decry the problems it faced merging and integrating 14 different ministries or departments in each policy area,7 and bemoan the fact that many rural areas simply had no administration (ANC, 1994c). Within a year of coming to power, the party despaired at the lack of capacity, and level of incompetence it found in the security forces, and complained of "rear guard resistance" from old-guard bureaucrats (ANC, 1995). As recently as 2002, party officials still found it necessary to call for improved "human resource capacity" and complained of continuing problems with policy coordination across national, provincial and local government, as well as the quality of available information with which to monitor policy impact, (ANC, 2002c). As one party discussion document summed it up: "We need a state that knows what it should be doing, how do to do it and to do it well" (ANC, 2002c, Part 45). Parallel to the process of building an effective and efficient state, the ANC also quickly realized the necessity of creating a legitimate state. Two years before it came to power, the ANC worried only about re-building public trust in the security forces.8 But within months of taking office, the party came to realize that it faced a serious crisis of compliance with a wide range of government agencies declaring that "we now have to deal with a mass constituency in which there is not always strong a tradition of paying for services, and the like" as well as pointing to emerging problems of middle class compliance like white collar crime, tax evasion, and illegal currency exports (ANC, 1994c). The ANC believed that effective state-building, especially at local levels, was vital to the generation of institutional legitimacy. Yet they also believed that this would require a public campaign in which government went "out to the people to talk, clarify, and explain, and to answer questions" (ANC, 1994b, Part 2.7.3 & 8). The need for state-building has been accompanied by a desire to transform the occupants of the state, replacing the overwhelmingly white, National Party appointed bureaucracy and making the public service physically representative of the population 18
through affirmative action coupled with training and advancement of officials from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as retraining of old guard officials (ANC, 1992). However, the ANC's approach to state building -- again -- contained within itself important internal tensions and contradictions. For even as it was just beginning to emphasize the need to develop skills and expertise in the public service, the party awakened to the fact that ANC appointees were to developing new institutional loyalties. Party strategists worried that the party was now "spread across a whole set of institutions," complained that ANC Ministers and Deputy Ministers were viewing the world from the "narrow perspective of their ministries, at the expense of a broader ANC outlook," and pointed to growing strains between national and provincial ANC executives, as well as to different approaches taken by ANC parliamentary study groups, ANC led parliamentary committees and ANC ministers. Recognizing that "We are, therefore, now confronted with the additional challenge of maintaining and deepening a common ANC strategic sense of purpose across this very wide spread" (ANC, 1994c), the ANC's response has been to impose tight discipline across the state bureaucracy. It declared that "the constitutional structures of the ANC must assume an overall political, strategic primacy over the legislative and governmental institutions in which we are located" (ANC, n.d.-b), reminded elected legislators that they "should continue to be seen as ANC cadres deployed in the various legislatures," and reminded all members they belonged to the ANC and remained subject to the party's discipline and policies regardless of their new positions (ANC, 1994c). Indeed, the difficulty of achieving boh representation, effectiveness and political accountability was manifested in the fact that eight years after office the party was still complaining about getting a public service that was representative, effective yet "politically accountable" (ANC, 2002c, Part 12). Finally, at the level of individual citizen the ANC's intention was to supply the channels and resources necessary to generate a high level of individual political participation, which it saw as one of the defining elements of democratic citizenship. "[T]he democratic order we envision," declared the party's 1994 RDP manifesto, "must foster a wide range of institutions of participatory democracy in partnership with civil society on the basis of informed and empowered citizens... and facilitate direct 19
democracy" (ANC, 1994a, Part 5.2.6). "Democracy is more than electing representatives to power once every few years. It means enabling people, especially women, to participate in decision making at all levels of their lives..." (ANC, n.d.-a, Part 4). Yet the ANC has held a particular notion of the methods by which citizens should participate in political and economic decisions. In general, it has tried to effect a form of political participation mobilized by organized groups, channeled through extralegislative, often corporatist institutions, and ultimately aimed at generating consent for government policy. While it recognized that "[t]here should be a clear right of access to the parliamentary legislative procedures to allow inputs from interested parties" (ANC, 1994a, Part 5.4.2), the ANC has devoted remarkably little attention to how to bring this about. Rather the party has fixed its attention on developing mechanisms of participatory and direct democracy including "referenda where appropriate," but also "new forms of popular activism and governance" (ANC, n.d.-b). These included "people's forums," "negotiating forums," "local development committees" "community policing forums," "participatory local government budgeting" and "workplace forums" (ANC, 1994a: Part 5.2.6; ANC, n.d.-a, Part 4; ANC, n.d.-b). They also included corporatist-style "sectoral" or "multi-partite policy forums" that represented "the major role players in different sectors" at local, provincial and national levels that would "promote efficient and effective participation of civil society in decision-making" (ANC, 1994a, Parts 5.13.7-8). At the national level, such forums would supposedly involve trade unions and other "mass organizations" in "democratic public policy-making" ranging from the selection of Constitutional Court members, to international trade and loan agreements (RDP, 1994a, Part 5.13.3). The purpose of encouraging public participation was as much to mobilize consent for state action and ensure that state policies succeed as an opportunity for people to influence, change or even oppose public policy. Public participation forums, party thinkers argued, "constitute important opportunities for organs of civil society to participate in and influence policy making. Similarly they provide the democratic government with an important mechanism for broad consultation on policy matters" (ANC, 1994a, Part 5.13.8). To the ANC, "[t]he rationale for a more participatory form of democracy is part of creating vehicles for dialogue between governments and people and 20
is grounded in the view that where people are not involved in the decisions that affect their lives, social policies and political interventions are likely to fail" (ANC, 2002c, Part 59). The ANC believed that government had an important role in mobilizing political participation. At the local level, the ANC "tasked" its municipal leaders "with the responsibility to generate mass participation in local government..." (ANC, 2002c, Part 41). Nationally, the ANC argued that government had a responsibility to provide civil society organizations with "capacity building assistance," "[t]hey need to be assisted (and sometimes restructured) to improve their effectiveness, (sic) representivity and accountability" (ANC, 1994a, Part 5.13.8). "The democratic state therefore has a responsibility to ensure that this independent and non-governmental sector has the necessary strength to play its role in (sic) the ensuring that the people themselves, and in their own interest, become conscious activists for development and social transformation" (ANC, 1996, Section 4.11.6). Arguing that "[p]articipation and accountability are meaningless if people do not have access to information" (ANC, 1994a), and that democracy "requires that our people are well informed so that they can participate fully in decisions that can affect their lives" (ANC, Basic Guide to the RDP, Section 4), the ANC also called for significant investments in a democratic information programme" (ANC, 1994a, Parts 5.2.9 & 5.14.1). This program was to include state action to limit media ownership concentration, state assistance to public, community and private media, an affirmative action program to bring black, coloured and Indian journalists into the profession, state assistance to train previously disadvantaged journalists, a Freedom of Information Act, and a re-structured government communications service to provide "objective information about the activities of the" (5.14.9) (ANC, RDP Policy Framework 5.14.2-9). 21
Table 1 Level of Analysis Political Community Democratic Regime State & Government Institutions Citizenship
Supply Single Territory Single Set of Rights and Citizenship Equality Promotion of National Symbols Eliminating Vast Inequalities Elections Representative Institutions Accountable Institutions Eliminating Vast Inequalities State Capacity Representative Public Service Economic Growth Efficient Public Services Formal Rights and Liberties Access to Legislatures Public Participation Forums
Generate Legitimacy of the South African Nation Legitimacy of Democracy Legitimacy of State Institutions High Levels of Public Participation
An Initial and Tentative Test On the face of it, the African National Congress governed South Africa seems to have done remarkably, even miraculously well. Against expectations of racial and ethnic civil war, political authoritarianism, and triple digit inflation and indebtedness, South Africa was repeatedly hailed by the Clinton Administration as an example of democratic progress (Carothers, 2004: 13) and is now widely seen as a model success case of 3rd Wave democratization. The country's experiences of the last ten years in conflict resolution, negotiation and transition, constitutional drafting, and reconciliation are seen as "state of the art." Institutional designers from places as diverse as Israel-Palestine, Fiji, Congo and Iraq have looked to South Africa as a model for a Bill of Rights, institutional design, or for a process of negotiation or reconciliation (e.g. Lal, 2002). It now receives plaudits from a wide range of international observers of democracy and governance. It is only one of ten African countries to be rated as "free" by Freedom House (2004); and since it is a functioning multi-party democracy, it also qualifies by Diamond's (1999) definition as a "liberal democracy" (1999). The Bertelsmann Transformation Index give is Democracy Status score of 4.2 (out of 5), which reflects a country with "Good prospects for consolidation of a market based economy" (Bertelsmann, 2003). And its Constitution has become the darling of liberals
22
and social democrats the world over because of its inclusion of an extensive set of political and socio-economic rights. On the economic front, the new government has avoided the triple-digit inflation that many feared would accompany a populist economic strategy of redistribution and government intervention. It stabilized the expanding debt and reversed the double-digit inflation inherited from the apartheid-era government. Since 1994, the government has facilitated the construction of 1.6 million low-cost houses and built 56,000 new classrooms. Massive infrastructure projects have given 9 million people access to clean water and provided sanitation to 6.4 million and electricity to 2 million. Government now provides various forms of social grants to 7.4 million and the poor have access to free medicine and more than 700 new clinics. Over 5 million needy children now get a fifth to a quarter of their daily nutritional needs through school feeding programs (Rumney, 2001, Barrell, 2000; RDP Monitor, 2000 & 2001; Ballenger, 1998; February, 2004). Relatively low inflation means that working South Africans are able to keep up with the cost of living. The national budget deficit has shrunk from 8 percent to around 2 percent of GDP. And public and private affirmative-action initiatives in education, business ownership and hiring have created a sizeable black middle class that is now surpassing its white counterpart in absolute size (Whiteford and Van Deventer, XXXX). Its home grown structural adjustment program is now seen as a model for economic stabilization, and Finance Minister Trevor Manual is the toast of the World Economic Forum. But as impressive a record as these political and economic achievements appear to be, South African political institutions have also been characterized by a number of significant blemishes. The democratic political system has presided over a massive increase in the number of HIV infections, supplanting Uganda and Botswana as the world epicenter of the pandemic. Yet in the face of a massive reduction in adult life expectancy, President Thabo Mbeki has publicly questioned accepted scientific conventions about the connection between HIV infections and AIDS, wasted valuable time with a Presidential AIDS Commissions stuffed with dissident scientists, and the government has dragged its feet needlessly in providing drugs to prevent mother to child transmission or anti-retroviral drugs to extend lives. It also presided over a substantial 23
rise in most categories of crime, especially violent crime since 1994 (Bruce, 2001; Dynes, 2001; Pedrag, 2000).even as it ability to prosecute and convict has declined?" The Economist, 2001). Economically, growth has been sluggish hovering around 2 to 3 percent, even though the government sees a growth rate of 6 to 7 percent as a prerequisite to cutting unemployment and reducing inequality? The economy that has shed 500,000 formal jobs, driving unemployment -- broadly defined -- near 40 percent and depriving hundreds of thousands of households of the income needed to make ends meet; yet its has steadfastly refused civil society demands to implement a modest basic income grant. And the income of the bottom two-fifths of all households has actually moved backward since 1994, increasing inequality (Whiteford & Van Deventer, 199X; Budlender, 2000). Yet our demand and supply model of democratic consolidation requires us to evaluate the success of the democratization process not simply in terms of outsider, expert assessments, or even solely in terms of objective indicators of institutional performance, but rather in terms of what citizens consider they are receiving. To what extent did South Africa's initial choice of political institutions and subsequent process of institutionalization actually generate a sense among the citizenry of increased supply of political and economic goods? And in turn, to what extent has this led to an increased popular demand for national unity, democracy, good governance and participatory citizenship? A full test of this model would examine a wide range of indicators of perceptions of supply and indicators of demand across each level of analysis. It would first engage in macro-level analysis of overtime changes in absolute levels of public attitudes. But on several key issues such as the electoral system or federalism, the intended impact of political institutions might be less one of increasing macro level aggregate levels, but to ameliorate the negative attitudes of peripheral regional or ethnic groups or partisan minorities, or to decrease the attitudinal gap between these groups and the rest of society. This would require meso-level analysis examining the opinions of identified sub-groups or the difference between sub-groups. Finally, it would also require micro level analysis of the determinants or etiology of key attitudes and whether political institutions might work to change the nature of these determinants over time. For example, we could 24
examine whether political institutions have managed to induce a less specific and instrumental, and more diffused and intrinsic sense of support for democracy over time. The availability of time series attitudinal data is a key factor here. The neoinstitutionalist approach is based fundamentally on the ability of elites and citizens to tease out and learn the logics imbued in any set of rules, and then figure out which behaviors are rewarded and which are penalized. Yet such a process of learning takes time. While one can read the rule book of any game, the full implications of those rules on how one plays the game are only manifest once one has played several iterations of the game. Thus, the impact of political institutions on citizen attitudes and behaviors should only be evident over time. The availability of cross national attitudinal data is also a key factor. While some institutional impacts may be observed in over time changes in public attitudes, others may be totally obscured by a purely within-country approach. The stability of some indicator, say reported contact with elected representatives, may suggest that political institutions have been unable to increase political participation. But we can only conclusively answer this question once we compare rates of contacting across countries that have different types of institutional arrangements. However, this paper presents only an initial test of this model and will concentrate on the aggregate time series indicators listed in Table 2.
Table 2
Level of Analysis
Perceptions of Supply
Political Community
· Acceptance of the New SA · Acceptance of A Common Future · Government Performance In Nation Building
Democratic Regime
· Free and Fair Elections · Extent of Democracy · Satisfaction With Democracy
State and Government · Perceptions of Corruption
Institutions
· Trust In Government
Citizenship
· Government Responsiveness
Indicators of Demand · Personal National Identity · Inclusive National Identity · Preference for Democracy · Rejection of Authoritarianism · Legitimacy of Institutions · Cognitive Awareness · Voter Turnout · Community Participation · Contacting
Political Community: The Supply of Nation-Building One of the most important elements in moving from a divided to a common society is "the realization of the mutually beneficial nature of a shared or common
25
destiny" (Sisk, 1995: 28, emphasis in original). If contending groups accept that they have a shared future, former enemies become seen as pragmatic foes rather than essentialist enemies. Many previously non-negotiable issues become negotiable, and cooperation becomes preferable to conflict (Brams, 1990). The Afrobarometer has asked South Africans a series of questions that tap their general political optimism or pessimism about the future, as well as the present and past political situation, by assigning scores of 0 through 10 to each.9 The evidence indicates that while a certain amount of nostalgia for the apartheid past did accumulate, growing from 17 percent offering positive assessments of "the way the country was governed under apartheid" to just under one in three South Africans (30 percent) by 2002, that figure dropped in half in 2004, statistically indistinguishable from where it began. More importantly, while just over one third (36 percent) offered positive assessments of "our current system with regular elections where everyone gets to vote and there are at least two political parties" in 1995, 62 percent gave had an optimistic view of the new South Africa at the end of the country's first democratic decade. Yet even while people had deep reservations about the new dispensation in 1995, 60 percent were optimistic about the country's future, giving a positive score to "the political system of this country as you expect it to be in ten years time." This buoyant view of the future has held steady over the first decade, as optimism about the present has raced to catch up to the same levels, and nostalgia for the past has declined. While it is not shown here for reasons of space, disaggregated time series data show considerable narrowing of the attitudinal gap amongst respondents belonging to the four apartheid racial categories on all three indicators. Figure 1 About Here Besides exhibiting greater consensus and optimism about the new and future political dispensations, South Africans also have given their government favorable evaluations of its performance in nation-building. Since 1995, between 60 and 70 26
percent of South Africans have said the government was doing its job "well" or "very well" "uniting all South Africans into one nation."10 Figure 2 About Here The Demand for Political Community: National Identity But to what extent do South Africans actually want to be a part of a nation- building project? Have they developed what the ANC called called a "shared sense of South Africanness" or a "broad South Africanism." To measure this, we turn to a series of items designed to measure personal national identity.11 They find very high levels of national identity with eight or nine out of ten respondent constantly declaring that they were "proud to be called a South African," that "being South African" was "a very important part" of how they saw themselves, and wanted their children to "think of themselves as South African." Yet these high levels were evident as early as 1995, a year after the first nationwide election, suggesting that the ANC may have overemphasized the need to create an attitude that already existed. They may have missed important distinctions between South Africa and other multicultural societies that broke about upon democratization, like the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. First of all, the imposed group memberships of apartheid spanned languages and religions rather than a situation where distinct nationalities were located in distinct territories (such as Czechoslovakia). Thus, social groups were geographically interspersed, and there was a significant degree of economic interdependence among groups (Adam,199X; 38, 41). Second, where former communist and other authoritarian states attempted to suppress ethnicity and impose an artificial transcendent identity, apartheid tried to impose ethnic and racial identities and deny the "South Africanness" of the majority of its citizens. The data also evidence a slow, but significant secular downward trend in national identity, with pride in citizenship declining a full twelve percentage points between 1997 and 2004 and the other two indicators declining by nine and seven points. And these declines have occurred wholly amongst black respondents (not shown). This suggests that if South Africans have been claiming a South African identity 27
because it was previously denied to them, this negative form of national identity may erode over time without the infusion of at least some positive content. Figure 3 About Here One reason that the national identity measured by these indicators is so high might be that different respondents have different things in mid when they talk about being South African. White South Africans (and to a lesser extent Indian and coloured respondents) might be thinking of the "old" South Africa rather than the new, inclusive South Africa. Thus, we turn to a separate set of indicators that measure a more inclusive sense of identity beyond one's personal connection with the country. This data evidence a high, though lower levels of agreement. Between eight and nine in ten have agreed over the past ten years that people should see themselves as "South Africans first, and stop thinking of themselves in terms of the group they belong to," or that it is "desirable to create one united South African nation out of all the different groups who live in this country." But just six to seven in ten have agreed that creating "such a united nation" was "possible."12 When disaggregated by apartheid racial categories, we again see that the source of the secular downward trend lies amongst black respondents. Figure 4 About Here The Supply of Democracy As noted above, international expert raters such as Freedom House have decided that South Africa's political institutions produce a high level of democracy. Yet to what extent do ordinary South Africans think they are being supplied with democracy? Here we focus on aggregate responses to three indicators that ask respondents about the freeness and fairness of elections, about the extent of democracy, and finally, their level of satisfaction with the way democracy works in South Africa.13 Three our of four South Africans judged their 1999 election as "completely free and fair" or "free and fair with minor problems," even though international observers had 28
unanimously declared that election as free and fair. However, the 2004 election received significantly higher public approval, with 83 percent rating it as completely or largely free and fair. The proportions of South Africans who think their political institutions produce a "full democracy" or a "democracy, with minor problems" has moved from 60 percent in 2000 to 67 percent in 2004, though with a sharp intervening drop to just 47 percent in 2002. And finally, satisfaction with democracy has bounced up and down quite considerably since 1995, but exhibits an overtime secular upward trend. Figure 5 About Here So there appears to be an overtime upward trend in the perceived supply of democracy, though caution needs to be exercised since this upward trend depends heavily on the relatively positive results produced by the October-November 2004 survey which followed on the heels of the 2004 election and during a year long national celebration of the country's 10th anniversary of democracy. Thus, we really need to await the results of the planned February 2004 survey to determine whether the 2004 results were part of a secular upward trend in the perceived supply of democracy or a period effect. The Demand for Democracy While the perceived supply of democracy may evidence some upward trends, popular demand for democracy is generally stable, though some elements may be in decline. One element of popular demand for democracy consists of public rejection of non-democratic forms of rule, and is tapped by a scale asking people whether they would approve or disapprove if the country were ruled by a unelected strong man, or by the military, or if only one political party were allowed to stand for office, or if the country returned to apartheid rule.14 The time series data indicate that the proportion who would reject a return to apartheid increased from 65 to 70 percent from 2000 to 2004, and rejection of one party rule has increased from 56 to 61 percent over the same period (though it had increased to 67 percent in 2002). However, rejection of strong man rule has dropped from 67 to 57 percent, and opposition to Military Rule has declined from 75 to 64 percent. Because this time series only begins in 2000, we turn to a different indictor to obtain a longer picture of public attitudes to non-democratic rule. It 29
is an admittedly "loaded" question that is intended to force people to choose between democracy and an authoritarian government that delivers a range of valued goods.15 It reveals that just 38 percent of South Africans declare themselves "unwilling" or "very unwilling" to "give up regular elections and live under" a "non-elected government or leader" who "could impose law and order, and deliver houses and jobs" in 2004, which is statistically the same as was obtained in 1997. Figure 6 About Here While the first element of popular demand for democracy consists of a negative rejection of non-democratic regimes, the second element consists of a positive preference for democracy. To tap this, we turn to an internationally used item that asks respondents whether democracy is always preferable to other forms of government.16 It finds that 63 percent of South Africans said that "democracy is always preferable to other forms of government," in 2004, exactly the same result obtained in 1998. In order to obtain a longer scope of a positive preference for democracy, we turn to a different item that tells people that "sometimes democracy does not work" and then asks them under such a situation whether they think that democracy is still always best, or whether they would prefer a strong, unelected leader.17 This finds that between 1995 and 2003, between 47 and 55 percent said "democracy is always best" even when it "does not work." Figure 7 About Here The differing trajectories of democratic supply and demand in South Africa are highlighted nicely by examining the proportions of fully satisfied and committed democrats. That is, we isolate those respondents in each survey who say they are both satisfied with democracy (satisfied or very satisfied) and who think the country is democratic (fully democracy or democracy with minor problems), as well as those respondents who reject three forms of authoritarian rule (strong man rule, one party rule and military rule) and prefer democracy. This shows that the proportion of consistent democrats has remained in a range of 30 to 33 percent of the electorate since 2000, but 30
that the number of satisfied democrats has moved from 40 to 56 percent. This imbalance of democratic supply and demand resembles a pattern of public opinion that Afrobarometer surveys have also found in Namibia (Bratton, Mattes & Gyimah-Boadi, 2004; Keulder 2005) and suggests a situation that resembles Guillermo O'Donnell's concept of a "delegative democracy" where an acquiescent public accepts whatever the regime chooses to supply. Figure 8 About Here The Supply of Good Governance To tap South African perceptions of the quality of governance being supplied by their new political institutions, we turn to a series of question that ask people about their degree of trust in various government organizations, 18 and also look to items that measure public perceptions about their perceptions of corruption in government.19 The most recent results suggest that the country's government institutions have largely recovered a sense of popular trust that they had lost in the early part of this decade, though again, caution should be exercised with imputing secular trends on the basis of the 2004 survey findings. At least one half the electorate say they trust the President (67 percent), the ruling ANC (60 percent), Parliament and their provincial government (52 percent). Local government is still trusted by only 43 percent, and illustrating a prime problem of electoral competition in South Africa, just 26 percent say they trust opposition political parties. Figure 9 About Here We also see the same upturn in popular trust in state institutions. Two thirds (66 percent) say they trust the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and six in ten express trust in the Independent Electoral Commission (59 percent) and the Courts (57 percent). However, key enforcement institutions lag behind, with only 45 percent who trust the South African Defence Force and 41 percent who trust the South African Police. Figure 10 About Here 31
We can be more confident of our interpretation of trends when we turn to perceptions of government and state corruption. While half of all citizens believe that "all" or "most" officials in national government, parliament and local government were involved in corruption throughout the 1990s, there has been a sea change in public opinion in the early 21st century as perceptions of corruption have been cut in half. This has most probably resulted from successful high profile prosecutions of leading officials in the ruling party such as the former wife of Nelson Mandela, the majority whip in Parliament and a high profile veteran of the ANC's military wing and personal confidante of the Deputy President. Figure 11 About Here The Demand for Good Government: Legitimate Government In order to measure popular demand with respect to government and state institutions, we turn to a set of questions that measure institutional legitimacy.20 We see legitimacy as demand in the sense that legitimacy is often seen as a sense of "moral oughtness," that government ought to have the right to enforce the law, or a form of demand for the rule of law. The results to these questions show that approximately 60 percent think that the South African constitution "expresses the values and hopes" of all citizens, a figure that has remained virtually constant since 1998. Higher proportions accept that the Courts "always have the right to make people obey the law," (68 percent) and that the police "always have the right to make decisions that people have to abide by" (67 percent). A significantly smaller majority agrees that the South African Revenue Service "always has the right to make people pay taxes." While we only have two time points for the questions on these state enforcement institutions, they show absolutely no change. Figure 12 About Here 32
The Supply of Political Participation To assess the supply of political participation, we concentrate on the opportunities provided by the state for participation as well as citizen evaluations of whether their elected representatives are interested in their opinions.21 South African citizens have the opportunity to choose their national decision, provincial and local representatives once every five years. Citizens can only vote for the legislature and the legislature in turn selects the President, Provincial Premier and local Mayors. And because of the proportional representation election system, they can only vote for a political party rather than between candidates of opposing parties. And because of the closed list variant of PR, they can only vote for a single slate and have no opportunity to rank candidates or select from amongst the party slate (though voters do select ward representatives at local levels as part of a mixed electoral system for local government). Legislative committee hearings are nominally open to public scrutiny at all levels of government. Public advertisements ask for submissions on upcoming legislation and national and provincial legislative committees often hold hearings in remote areas as an attempt to maximize public involvement. At the local level, the new system of local government features statutorily defined ward committees that bring together ward representatives and local notables in formal proceedings. Local development planners are also required to hold public meetings to solicit opinion. However, public evaluations of government responsiveness have been distinctly lukewarm. Between 1995 and 2000, at most six in ten citizens and as few as four in ten felt that most or all members of parliament were interested in what people like themselves thought. The proportions were even lower for provincial and local government. Figure 13 About Here A differently worded indicator beginning in 2002 finds even lower levels of perceived government responsiveness. Just 11 percent of the electorate felt that "elected officials" were "interested in what people like you thought" always or most of the time.22 In 2004 the question was asked separately and found that 22 percent felt that local 33
officials were actively interested in their opinions compared to 18 percent for members of parliament. Citizen Demand for Political Participation Voter turnout (as a proportion of voting age population) has dropped precipitously from 88 percent in 1994 to 72 percent in 1999 and 58 percent in 2004. Political interest and discussion have remained at the same relatively low levels since 1995.23 On average, 15 to 20 percent of South Africans have told pollsters since 1995 that they were "very interested" in political affairs and anywhere from 11 to 17 percent have said that they frequently spoke about politics to friends and neighbors. Not only have these levels remained stagnant, but Afrobarometer data show that political discussion runs well below the African mean, and South African interest in politics is the lowest in Africa (not shown). And citizen contact with elected officials has been extremely low. In 2002, four percent (and six percent in 2004) said they had made contact with a member of parliament, though the numbers for local officials were 14 and 15 percent respectively. However, on both scores, South Africans' frequency of contact with elected officials is the lowest measured in any Afrobarometer survey (not shown). Figure 14 About Here Figure 15 About Here Conclusions While more detailed meso level analysis of key subnational groups, and micro level analysis of the determinants of these opinions is necessary, some important generalizations may be drawn fro this preliminary analyses of aggregate time series public opinion data. First, the perceived supply of nation building and the creation of a shared destiny appears to be either quite positive or moving in a positive direction. Public evaluations of the supply of democracy also appear to be moving sharply upward, though these judgments must await the results of the next South African survey to 34
determine whether this is a secular trend or the result of the charge emotions of an election campaign and a partisan-tinged ten year anniversary of democracy. Second, public demand for a South African political community started at high levels, but may have eroded somewhat. And despite a strong commitment on behalf of the African National Congress to build legitimate political institutions and a participatory democracy, the "demand curve" at the level of democracy, government institutions and individual citizenship remains flat and, in some areas, declining. Moreover, not only are the trend line flat, but these levels of demand are relatively low compared with other African societies. Why has this occurred, especially in face of international admiration of South Africa's new political institutions and the intensive approach to institutionalization pursued by the South African government since 1994? We identify three possible answers that need to be explored with more detailed research. First, institutionalization may be a necessary but insufficient condition for democratization. Second, South Africa may have chosen the wrong institutions. Third, our knowledge of institutions is extremely incomplete. Institutions Are A Necessary But Insufficient Condition for Consolidation This viewpoint would highlight the fact that indicators of supply appear to have been maintained at strong levels, if not increased, even while indicators of demand (especially with regard to demand for democracy, legitimacy and citizenship) remain relatively or even very weak. In other words, institutions do not always generate their own demand (Fukuyama, 2005). While the major focus of South Africa's democratization process has been on designing institutions that would satisfying an inclusive range of political elites, and subsequently on building institutional capacity for "delivery," there has been an insufficient focus on ­ for the want of a better term -"winning hearts and minds" to democracy. We have clear evidence that while perceptions of the supply of democracy are based on what people think about the economic and political performance of political institutions, demand for democracy is largely created by the development of cognitive skills amongst the citizenry (Bratton, Mattes & Gyimah-Boadi, 2004). This directs us to 35
an intensive analysis of what has been, and has not been in South Africa in terms of civic education, both with regard to adults as well as adolescents. South Africa Chose the Wrong Institutions Institutions are not chosen out of a vacuum, but result from negotiations based on "present position" bargaining. Thus, resulting institutions often favor politically stronger parties, especially if negotiations were characterized by sharp power asymmetries, which we argue was the case in South Africa at least from 1992. While South Africa's set of institutional choices may have been necessary to draw as wide a set of relevant political leaders and parties into negotiations and induce the widest possible agreement on an interim and final constitution, these institutions ay be detrimental to the subsequent consolidation of democracy, as well as deepening the quality of democracy. South Africa's institutional matrix has simply too few "veto players" or institutions of countervailing power with which to check the hegemonic aspirations of the electorally dominant African National Congress, or to fracture that party. Its dominance over its "deployed" membership in the civil service and national, provincial and local legislatures not only limits the full institutionalizations of these bodies, but also provides ordinary citizens with strong disincentives against participation such as voting, or contacting elected officials. Of even greater concern is the fact that changing these institutions will be extremely difficult given the interests of the dominant ANC in maintaining the present rules. This underscores the necessity for institutional designers to look not only on what set of rules will obtain the quickest and widest political consensus in the early stages of democratization, but to peer into the future and consider whether various "institutional path legacies" will support or corrode the development of a vibrant democracy (North, 199X; and Reynolds, 2005). Our Imperfect Knowledge of Political Institutions While most institutionalists will posit the appropriate caveats about the effects of local context, one could be forgiven for concluding after a reading of the neoinstitutionalist literature that the political, social and economic consequences of 36
institutional choice are constant across time and space. But there are many good reasons why same institution may produce greatly varying consequences depending upon local context (Przeworski, 2005). Returning to Reynolds' (2005) analogy of the institutional designer as clinical physician, political institutions are chosen based on imperfect, untested prognoses of a country's political futures, both with and without the prescribed institutional medicine. Furthermore, while some institutional scholars are beginning to pay more attention to the unique consequences of specific combinations of institutions (such as the combination of presidentialism and proportional representation), few scholars pay close attention to broader combinations, or what Reynolds (2005) likens to drug interaction effects. In the case of South Africa, the interaction of closed list proportional representation electoral rules, a parliamentary system, constitutional rules enabling draconian central party control over legislators, and extremely weak federalism, combined with a history of strong party discipline and the electoral dominance of the ANC one party dominance has had particularly pernicious effects. Second, political institutions are almost always designed to correct the past (especially in situations of post-conflict democratization), and the past is unique in every country. Thus, political institutions will work differently depending on how local actors use or misuse them. In the case of South Africa, a great deal of institutional design and the emphasis of subsequent institutional development has been shaped by the ANC's largely substantive, socio-economic understanding of democracy as well as its conceptual distinction between and favoring of "participatory" democracy over "representative" democracy. Oddly, these two important aspects of ANC thought were based on fundamentally different assumptions about politics and individual citizens. On one hand, it held a hard headed view, based in classic Marxist materialist thought, of the citizen motivated to support the democratic system and pay his or her taxes purely by economic incentives rather than by representative and responsive government. On the other hand, the ANC held a decidedly wooly, wholly romantic view of the citizen motivated to participate in politics by innate desire, interest and duty. Thus, institutions were designed to provide "forums" for participation but no political incentive. Finally, the ANC's own commitments to building institutional competence and effectiveness in economic 37
planning and delivery have collided with its desire to achieve "hegemony" and its hesitation to allow the development of institutional autonomy, perspective and loyalty that is a necessary part of successful institutionalization. To summarize, while a significant amount of more intensive empirical research needs to be done, this initial test of this expanded supply and demand model on the South African case has provided evidence to support a number of tentative generalizations about the role of political institutions in the consolidation of democracy. First of all, foreign donors, international scholars and local institutional designers need to pay much more attention to the implications of proposed political institutions in the post settlement phase, and pay special attention to the particular consequences of the overall package of proposed institutions and their possible interaction effects, as well as the unique effects of local context on institutional consequences. Second, while institutionalists are wellversed at teasing out the implied logic of various political rules for elite behaviour, they need to pay more serious attention to the ways that various political institutions can send the wrong signals to rational citizens and take away any incentives to participate in democratic processes or comply with the democratic state. And finally, they should realize that "getting the institutions right" is a necessary but insufficient step to democratic consolidation. But in order to generate public demand for democracy and good governance, donors and national policy makers need to look to other areas, such as sustained national civic education in order to develop the cognitive political skills of the citizenry. 38
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Endnotes 1 I would like to thank Joseph Tucker and Andrew Brooks of the National Endowment for their able research assistance as well as the following people for their helpful comments during earlier presentations of these arguments: Richard Rose, Roland Rich, Shaheen Mozaffar, Michael McFaul, Peter Lewis, Hoon Jaung, Steve Finkel, Larry Diamond, Marianne Camerer and Michael Bratton. 2 While it may not have t necessarily a rule of just law, it was at least what Migdal/Carothers? (XXXX) refers to as "rule by law" (emphasis added). As journalist Patti Waldmeir (1997: 92) observed of the government's decision to accede to Robben Island prisoners' demands for things like newspapers and sporting activities, "measures like allowing access to newspapers--which Mandela has always said had a profound impact on the decision to start negotiations--were taken, not for any grant strategic reasons, but to remove an irritant: a flood of court cases. Other regimes, which felt less need to provide legal justification for their oppression, might simply have ignored such challenges. Not the National Party, it like to think that it lived by the law." To be sure, the period under successive states of emergency in the 1980s were characterized by an increased level of lawless behaviour on the part of state security forces. 3 Lijphart's ideas influenced National Party thinking as early as 1982 during its first attempt at constitutional reform. What would become the 1983 Tricameral Constitution created separate legislative assemblies and cabinets to look after the "own affairs" of the white, coloured and Indian race groups (no serious effort was made to bring black South Africans into this dispensation) and a complicated formula for making decisions about "common affairs" that was loaded in favor of whatever political party that controlled the white assembly. However, the plan was ultimately disavowed by Liphart (1985) and labeled "sham" consociationalism by other analysts (Du Toit, 198X). 4 Other academics advanced alternative forms of power-sharing that, more like the liberal approach, strove to force ethnic groups, or at least their leaders, to work together as much as possible. Donald Horowitz (1991a & 1991b) advocated a federal system with units drawn as to combine rather than separate groups, a presidential executive required to win minimum threshold across the country, and Alternative Vote electoral rules intended to induce political parties to moderate their claims to appeal for the 2nd and 3rd preferences of other parties' supporters. 5 Part of this can be attributed to the equally breathtaking and nearly totalitarian nature of the apartheid regime the ANC was trying to displace which itself had attempted to control a wide range of human behavior ranging from politics, to economics, to social and even sexual interaction. Part of this also has its roots in the hubris that accumulates in an organization that had eventually emerged victorious after dedicating its eight years of existence to defeating white rule in South Africa. And at least part of it has its roots in it that strand of its political thought based in Marxism and Marxist understandings of historical determinism. 6 The ANC's National Executive Committee had concluded by 1999 that the strategic environment was characterized by a "Consolidated legitimacy of the democratic order, marginalizing any forces that had intentions of strategic violent counter-revolution" (Cited in ANC, 2002a, Part 1). 7 This refers to the ministries of the ten Bantustan governments, and the three "own affairs" and one national ministries of the Tricameral system. 8 "The South African security institutions themselves developed a racist, closed, secretive, undemocratic structure, lacking legitimacy in the eyes of the people. The process of democratization will not be complete without addressing this problem" (ANC, 1992: Part Q.1). 8 We are now going to discuss how you rate different forms of government. I would like you to give marks out of 10. The best form of governing a country gets 10 out of 10 and the worst form of governing a country gets no marks at all. What grade would you give:
· The way the country was governed under apartheid · Our current system of government with regular elections where everyone can vote and there are at least two political parties · The political system of this country as you expect it to be in 10 years time. 10 How well is the government doing in uniting all South Africans into one nation? 11 Please tell me whether you agree, neither agree nor disagree, or agree with these statements: · It makes you proud to be called a South African · You would want your children to think of themselves as South African · Being South African is a very important part of how you see yourself. 12 Please tell me whether you agree, neither agree nor disagree, or agree with these statements: · People should realize we are South Africans first, and stop thinking of themselves in terms of the group they belong to. · It is desirable to create one united South African nation out of all the different groups who live in this country. · It is possible to create such a united South African nation. 13 On the whole, how would you rate the freeness and fairness of the last national elections, held in XXXX * Completely free and fair * Free and fair, but with minor problems * Free and fair, with major problems * Not free and fair In your opinion, how much of a democracy is ____ (insert Country name) today? * A full democracy * A democracy, but with minor problems * A democracy, but with major problems * Not a democracy How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in ____ (insert country name)? * Very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, very dissatisfied. 14 "Some people say that we would be better off if we had a different system of government. Would you approve or disapprove of...?" · Military rule · One-party rule · One-man rule · Return to the system of rule we had under apartheid 15 "If a non-elected government or leader could impose law and order, and deliver houses and jobs, how willing or unwilling would you be to give up regular elections and live under such a government? * Very unwilling, unwilling, willing, very willing 16 Which of these three statements is closest to your own opinion? A. Democracy is preferable to any other form of government B. In certain situations, a non-democratic government can be preferable C. To people like me, it doesn't matter what form of government we have." 17 Sometimes democracy does not work. When this happens, some people say that we need a strong leader who does not have to bother with elections. Others say that even when things don't work, democracy is always best. What do you think? With which statement do you agree with most: A. Need strong leader 2
B. Democracy always best" 18 How much do you trust each of the following? · President · Parliament · Provincial Government · Local Council · Ruling Party · Opposition Parties · Electoral Commission · Army · Police · Courts · State Broadcaster 19 How many of the following people do you think are involved in corruption, or haven't you enough about them to say? · The President and Officials in his office? · Members of Parliament? · Elected Local Government Councilors · National Government Officials 20 How many of the following people do you think are involved in corruption, or haven't you enough about them to say? · The President and Officials in his office? · Members of Parliament? · Elected Local Government Councilors · National Government Officials 21 How interested do you think the _____ is in what happens to you or hearing what people like you think? Is he / it not at all interested, not very interested, interested, very interested, or haven't you heard enough about him / it to know? 22 How often are elected officials (parliamentarians and local councilors) interested in what people like you think? 23 The construct of cognitive engagement is measured with two items: · How interested would you say you are in public affairs? · When you get together with your friends or family, would you say you discuss political matters: ? 3

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Title: South Africa: Democracy Without the People. Political Institutions and...- 2005
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