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State capture and its aftermath

International Conference

State Capture and its Aftermath:

Building Responsiveness Through State Reform

22 to 24 October, 2018

Auckland Park, Johannesburg

South Africa has reached a defining moment. The democratic dispensation has been severely weakened by an insurgent elite populism (that spoke in the language of subaltern and postcolonial studies) to justify violating the constitution and democratic procedures. In the name of radical change, the Jacob Zuma government broke and looted key state institutions – either for purposes of enrichment or to finance its anti-democratic politics. ‘State capture’, as this phenomenon has come to be known in South Africa, occurred at all levels of government and across the state. The last ten years of ANC rule have torn away at the basic unity of South Africa’s post-1994 promise: democracy, equality, justice.

The election of President Cyril Ramaphosa, in December 2017, has been widely celebrated as a ‘new dawn’, that is, as an opportunity to restore the constitutional project and programmatic government on the basis of sound policies. Drawing on the lessons of 2017 of the power and the importance of civil-society in South Africa to defend and drive democracy, there is a historic opportunity for a civil-society led initiative to reform government, professionalise public administration and to build a responsive and capable state.

About the Conference

In the spirit of this potential democratic renewal, the Public Affairs Research Institute is hosting a major conference on reconstructing public institutions in South Africa in the aftermath of state capture. The conference will bring together scholars and practitioners from South Africa and from around the world to discuss and share their views and experiences of state reform initiatives in countries struggling with the legacies of colonialism, fragmentation, poverty and inequality.

Day 1: Theoretical Analyses
Day 2: Applied Policy Analyses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Day 3: Civil-society Organisations – parallel sessions

Day 1:


Theoretical analyses on the following themes:

Constitutions and Political Ideas

Bureaucracy and Rationalisation

Cultures of Government

Capitalism and Bureaucracy

Day 2:


Applied policy analyses in post-apartheid South Africa:

Experiments and national administrative reforms

Local Government Development

Resistance, protest and social movements

The Politics of Government

Recruitment and Appointments in Government

The State of Capture

Day 3:


Civil Society Organisations panels

Parallel Sessions


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