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Chapter | The End of Tyranny: How Civil Society in SA Fought Back

Rising to the Populist Challenge is a groundbreaking playbook for the human rights field against populism, by Columbia-based research and advocacy organisation, Dejusticia. Ivor Chipkin’s chapter talks about civil society’s push-back during the Zuma years.

The End of Tyranny: How Civil Society in South Africa Fought Back

“In classical texts, tyranny, as opposed to despotism, refers to a form of government that breaks its own rules. This is a useful starting point for discussing political developments in South Africa and the civil society response over the last ten years. The African National Congress (ANC) government under ex-president Jacob Zuma became increasingly tyrannical as it set itself up against the constitution and the rule of law. This move to tyranny was not simply the result of corruption, but was also a political response to South Africa’s racially defined inequality, which incorrectly identified the constitution as an obstacle to radical economic transformation. The move to tyranny justified a growing lawlessness in key parts of the government and enabled widespread corruption in the state marketplace—the area where businesses do the government’s outsourced work. In response, largely to force the government to play by the rules, civil society has been reinvigorated and several new coalitions have emerged. … “

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