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Recovering Democracy in South Africa

Raymond Suttner
Recovering Democracy in South Africa
ISBN: 978-1-62637-368-6
2015/255 pages/LC: 2015031673
A FirstForumPress Book
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"The joy of reading Suttner's analysis is that even though it is a snapshot of today, it is deeply rooted in history. This, combined with Suttner's own personal experience in the ANC underground and as a United Democratic Front activist, puts him in a position to provide some of the most grounded contemporary analysis of current affairs."—Chris Vick, Independent World of Work (South Africa)

"At great personal cost, Raymond Suttner frequently confronts us uncomfortably with our shortcomings. His voice rings true with the aspirations that inspired the struggle for democracy in South Africa."—Hugh Corder, University of Cape Town

"Suttner ... gives deep and fresh insights into the thinking and evolution of the ANC as a political party, as an alliance partner, and as a governing party. His understanding of politics and its interconnection with law and the constitution makes his contributions to the debates rich, challenging, and yet measured."—Halton Cheadle, author of South African Constitutional Law: The Bill of Rights.


Raymond Suttner brings together the best of his recent work to offer both an in-depth engagement with the current challenges facing South Africa and a damning account of the politics of the Zuma era. Notably, despite his strongly argued criticism of the country’s present political order, he does not leave the reader with a sense of pessimism, but instead points to ways in which South Africans can recover and build on the promise of 1994.


Raymond Suttner is professor emeritus at the University of South Africa and also on the faculty of Rhodes University.


  • Introduction.
  • ANC Attack on the Judiciary.
  • The Zuma-Led State Is Half-Sinking, Half-Sailing.
  • A Question of Honor.
  • Characterizing Current South African Politics.
  • Will the ANC-Led Tripartite Alliance Survive?
  • Loss of Trust and Legitimacy Result in Ungovernability.
  • Politics of the Red Carpet and Politics of the Poor.
  • Nkandla Signifies Our Disenfranchisement.
  • Politics Without Politics.
  • The Dream Has Become a Nightmare.
  • Controversy Around the Jacob Zuma Presidency.
  • Will Zuma Go Down and Will He Go Alone?
  • Does National Oppression Persist in South Africa Today?
  • Militarisation and Depoliticisation in South Africa Today.
  • Introduction.
  • Torture and Irregularities in Free State Murder Probe.
  • The Persistence of the Past in the Present.
  • Entrenching the Principle of Non-Violence.
  • Building Unity to Restore Democratic Rule.
  • More Is at Stake in Parliament than EFF Conduct.
  • Legality, Constitutionalism and Transformation.
  • Judges, Transformation, and Active Citizenry.
  • Erosion of Trust in Crucial Institutions.
  • Introduction.
  • The Warrior Tradition and Access to Women's Bodies.
  • New ANC Alliances Strengthen Attacks on Gender and Sexuality Rights.
  • Patriarchy Polices Heterosexuality.
  • Masculinities and Liberation.
  • Mandela's Masculinities.
  • Electoral Silence on Patriarchy Speaks Volumes.
  • Concerted Action Is Needed Against Patriarchy.
  • Women and the Legal Profession.
  • Women's Ministry Colludes with Patriarchy.
  • Introduction.
  • Understanding Twenty Years of "Unity in Diversity."
  • Non-Racialism and Race.
  • Race Denialism Nurtures Racism.
  • Who Is an African?
  • Does Building Non-Racialism Mean Being Colour-Blind?
  • Leaders, Leadership, and Ethics.
  • Introduction.
  • Ethical Dilemmas of South African Politics Today.
  • Need or Greed?
  • The Ethical Component in Our Politics.
  • Citizens Need to Claim Ethical Leadership.
  • Chief Albert Luthuli.
  • Luthuli and the Lessons of His Leadership.
  • Luthuli and MK.
  • Chief Albert Luthuli and the 'Gospel of Service.'
  • Nelson Mandela’s Early Journeys to Political Awareness.
  • Mandela on Trial and Its Meaning for Us Today.
  • Invoking Nelson Mandela's Legacies.
  • Nelson Mandela and the Prisoner’s Power.
  • The Bram Fischer Legacy.
  • Walter and Albertina Sisulu: A Revolutionary Love.
  • MaSisulu and Her Life Sermon.
  • The ANC's Long and Difficult Journey.
  • The ANC's Beginnings.
  • ANC History in the 1950s.
  • The Banning of the ANC.
  • Introduction.
  • The Concept of the National Democratic Revolution.
  • Difficult Situations Require Difficult Decisions.
  • The Meaning of Emancipatory Politics Today.
  • How Do We Move Towards an Emancipatory Politics in South Africa Today?
  • Changes in the ANC-Led Alliance and Prospects for a New Unity.
  • Reinvigorating Democracy.
  • Does Parliament Represent the People?
  • The Economic Freedom Fighters' Politics of Dress.
  • What Does It Mean to Be Radical in South Africa Today?
  • Numsa's United Front: Questions that Need to Be Answered.
  • Rebuilding Democracy: Time to Use Our Own Power!
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