Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy: South African Disparities

Issue Date July 2011
Volume 22
Issue 3
Page Numbers 105-119
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South Africa’s 1994 transition to democracy was made possible by the change in the international landscape that resulted from the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. South Africa has two important “assets” that will help it to confront the poverty and inequality that beset the country. The first is majority support for democracy: In the 2008 Afrobarometer survey, two-thirds supported democracy, while 12 percent were indifferent, and 19 percent felt that nondemocratic government was sometimes preferable. The second asset is South Africa’s relatively low level of corruption. Democratic stability and development are tied to economic growth. Without it, South Africa could be at risk for political and economic disaster.