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HSRC Press :: South Africa :: State of the Nation: South Africa 2016

State of the Nation: South Africa 2016 

State of the Nation: South Africa 2016

Who is in Charge? Mandates, accountability and contestations in South Africa

Daniel Plaatjies, Charles Hongoro, Margaret Chitiga-Mabugu, Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Muxe Nkondo

Format168mm x 240mm
ISBN 13978-0-7969-2513-8
Publish YearMarch 2016
RightsWorld Rights
DescriptionRelated ProductsEmail To A FriendProduct RatingCustomer Reviews


The State of the Nation 2016 volume uses multiple research lenses to analyse the dynamic interface of power and authority structures that characterises the state and South African society as a dynamic constitutional democracy. The volume projects these dynamics in the context of heightening contestations around structural economic, social and political problems such as unemployment, inequality, poverty and land redistribution.

Is the state indeed in charge of the country's economy and development and to what extent is the government able to effectively drive its publicly pronounced developmental state agenda? When does 'leading' become 'controlling'? What are the roles of the private sector and civil society in development? To whom is the state accountable and how is it held accountable? What are the definitive signs that the South African state has been hollowed out in the interests of a market-led economy rather than functioning as a developmental or capable state? From the state's point of view, which external role players, forces and powers are preventing the state administration and agencies from fully achieving its goals?

In the context of such constraints, a range of changing dynamics – financial, constitutional, political and economic – and with a focus on the lingering remnants of the apartheid state – State of the Nation 2016 analyses South Africa and how power impacts on mandates, accountability and contestations in the South African state by asking: Who is in charge?


'There is an intriguing similarity between the 'big question' of Who Runs this Place? The Anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century by Anthony Sampson and the 'big question' of this State of the Nation 2016:

'Who is in charge?' And it seems to me that the State of the Nation series has done for South Africa what Sampson did for Britain: anatomising the body politic, measuring change, identifying progress, diagnosing weaknesses and issuing policy prescriptions.'

Colin Bundy,
South African historian and former Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford.


Section 1: Politics and the State 

  1. Guarding the guardians: Chapter 9 Institutions
  2. Analysing intergovernmental relations issues of service delivery in South Africa
  3. The quest for 'three thirds' the ANC's 2014 election campaign
  4. Engendered Spaces of Power: Women in Political Parties, Traditional Leadership, and Government.
  5. Amandla Awethu: Public attitudes, South African democracy and electoral participation

Section 2: Economics

  1. Who is in charge of the economy of the developmental state: the state, economic powers, market dynamics and the NDP
  2. Does sticky inequality dampen gains in poverty reduction in South Africa?
  3. The missing social compact for economic development in South Africa
  4. Are South African cities ungovernable?

Section 3: Society

  1. Subaltern Politics & the Elite Public Sphere: Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Manor, Durban in 2013 and 2014
  2. Community Advice Offices: Taking Charge in Marginalized Communities
  3. Transformative constitutionalism, power and consensus: are the courts 'in charge'?
  4. How are public and private decision-makers aligned to address changing skills needs? Evidence from a case study of the sugar sector
  5. The Public Domain, Markets, and Higher Education in South Africa: 1994 – 2014

Section 4: Health and Environment

  1. Right to health and implications for policy and legislation: who is in charge of delivery
  2. Non-communicable diseases: the big killer and who is in charge: state of evidence and action (life–style management, poverty)
  3. Health and stewardship: prospects and challenges (who is in charge, life style management, school health, limits of governability)
  4. Alcohol use and substance abuse: limits of governability (drugs, obesity, food, alcohols);
  5. Climate, water and the potential for South Africa's ecological restoration

Section 5: SA and the global context

  1. South Africa and BRICS: Path to a New African Hegemony?
  2. Regional trans-border legacies and the inadequacies of South African immigration policy
  3. Peace management in Africa: the role of South Africa



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