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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Huffington Post by Dirk Kotze.]

Jacob Zuma’s court appearance carries huge significance for the country. That’s because his criminal trial is not merely about public outrage at state capture and corruption in high political offices. Nor is it just about Zuma facing the consequences of his abuse of office, or the criminal justice implications of a former president being charged with a series of crimes.

Its broader significance is that Zuma’s court appearance affects many of the most important philosophical foundations of South Africa’s constitutional democracy. The charges against him are immensely important for the foundations of the state. They also matter for democracy and for the constitutional social contract.

This is because the legitimacy of any elected public representative is based on the mandate they receive at a general election. That mandate is the product of a contract between voters and public representatives. Voters cede part of their most fundamental democratic rights of public participation to the representatives. In exchange, and as a cornerstone of representative democracy, elected representatives must account for their actions to Parliament and to the voters.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.9% y/y in August 2018 (CPI) & +6.3 y/y in August 2018 (PPI)
-0.7% q/q (2nd quarter of 2018)
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