Paul Graham statement at Community of Democracies on 3rd July 2010

The Community of Democracies recently commemorated its 10th Anniversary in Krakow Poland, where over over 100 civil society leaders and democracy activists from every region of the world participated. Idasa’s Paul Graham spoke to State representatives – see his remarks here.

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Watching Zimbabwe – May/June 2010

Read the latest report about how the Zimbabwe’s government matches up to the targets of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Testing Democracy: Which Way is SA Going?

Lobby Bookstore Opens

NPC – new framework for policy and delivery in SA

Imagine a common vision for development across the country?  Perhaps this could be the start.  Trevor Manuel (Minister in the Presidency for National Planning) released the Green Paper on national strategic planning in early September, which aims to provide a co-ordinated, coherent plan for government delivery. See more analysis below.

By Justin Sylvester

Since President Jacob Zuma announced a restructured cabinet shortly after the April election, the future functions of government have remained largely unclear. Moreover the political landscape with regards to influence over policy matters has been even hazier. However, the lay of the land has become much clearer since Minister’s in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel and Collins Chabane, released two green papers for public discussion on 4 September. The first, presented by Minister Manuel and titled Green Paper on National strategic Planning, concerned the newly created National Planning Commission (NPC). The second presented by Minister Chabane and titled Green Paper on Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, concerned the Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation component. This memo seeks to discuss some of the structures that are envisaged in the documents, with a view to participating in the public discussion of these documents. And also to posit some initial thoughts on the politics surrounding the release of these green papers and the impact on the political terrain.

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What did they spend? Party Funding and Campaigns in SA …

By: Judith February

With the elections over and the African National Congress celebrating its victory, it is clear that, along with the people, the money has also spoken.

Estimates put the ANC’s election spending at between R200million and R400m. No one can be sure of the actual amount, given the lack of transparency in the funding of political parties.

All political parties seem to agree that transparency is a good thing but appear to lose their appetite when it comes to disclosing their own sources of funding. It has been a case of “show me yours and I’ll show you mine”. Continue reading

The State of SA’s Democratic Institutions

– By Shameela Seedat –

Media coverage leading up to next month’s national elections would leave many of us convinced of a dramatic plunge over the past few years in the level of public trust in South African democratic institutions.

Several significant events have led to such dwindling enthusiasm. These events include, to mention a few, suspected political interference in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Intelligence Services, the NPA’s decision to drop charges against ANC President, Jacob Zuma, the dissolution of the Scorpions despite their success in fighting crime, dubious circumstances around the dismissal of former NPA director Vusi Pikoli, unsatisfactory progress around the corruption trial of Police Commissioner, Jackie Selebi, and threats to the independence of our courts resulting from the legal charges brought against the ANC president.

The event that poses the most significant challenge to institutional integrity – the NPA’s decision to withdraw charges against Zuma – has been met with considerable scepticism. The rationale presented by Acting Prosecutions Director, Advocate Mpshe is not immediately persuasive since it is unclear that ex-Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy’s alleged abuse of process renders the prosecution of Jacob Zuma unfair and unjust. Furthermore, the NPA has not denied that, apart from political interference, Zuma has a case to answer. Hence, questions will continue to cloud the Presidency and the NPA. Continue reading

Are food parcels being abused to manipulate voters?

By Christi van der Westhuizen

www.electionmonitoringnetwork.org

‘‘I‘m going to make sure that if you advertise (sic) an article about my name on the newspaper I will deal with you… If you go to the paper with that thing you’re going to deal with the consequences thereafter… I am not threatening you, you are threatening yourself. You cannot just go and investigate randomly. Give me the name. I told you, give me the name of the person who has called you from Cope.’’

These are the words of Thamsanqa Cube, an civil servant working at the department of social development’s South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in the Northern Cape town of Prieska. Cube threatened me during a call which I had made to get his response to allegations that the SASSA office in Prieska is using food parcels to boost the ANC’s electoral support.

His threats may, among others, be a reflection of how high political temperatures are running in some small towns in the Northern Cape before the elections. Given the dearth of economic activities in this mostly rural province, politics is frequently the only game in town. Continue reading