Constitutional Populism in South Africa

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Political advantage, economic inequality, and the impact of populism on liberal democracy in South Africa

Following his recent paper on the 2018 term of the Constitutional Court, a new case study from Theunis Roux turns to constitutional populism in South Africa.

Read the case study

In a very accessible discussion, he addresses two distinct phases of populism as seen in South Africa – under the current and immediately previous Presidents.

Theunis notes that as ‘is the case in North America and Europe, public attachment to the ideal of liberal constitutionalism in South Africa has been weakened by persistent inequality’, but also that despite ‘an undeniably negative impact on liberal democracy in certain respects’ it is also the case that ‘populism has provided a testing ground in which the true worth of that form of government and the institutions that it has developed to prevent the abuse of political power have been made manifest.’

Read more background on South Africa.