Marikana: a crisis of legitimacy in the institutions that form the foundations of South Africa's 1994 post-apartheid political settlement

SOURCE: Social Dynamics
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2015
TITLE AUTHOR(S): W.Gumede
KEYWORDS: INEQUALITY, MARIKANA, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL ATTITUDES SURVEY (SASAS), TRADE UNIONS, VIOLENCE
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11046

Download this report

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at researchoutputs@hsrc.ac.za.

Abstract

This essay argues that the violent explosion at Marikana is an indication that ordinary South Africans are rapidly losing faith in the democratic institutions and social contract arrangements that underpin the 1994 post-apartheid South African democratic social contract, whether Parliament, the collective bargaining system, or the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). Similarly, legitimate institutions, such as political parties, trade unions and civic organisations the organisations which pre-date 1994 are also increasingly experienced by their members and supporters as not responsive, relevant or accountable. Marikana shows that if democratic institutions and "legitimate" institutions do not become more responsive, accountable and democratic quickly, ordinary people will increasingly look to new ones, including populists ones, or seek answers in violence. The essay concludes that although there are still many democratic and "legitimate" institutions which generate high levels of trust and enjoy widespread credibility and legitimacy, South Africa may have to renew aspects of its democratic social contract, institutions and rules, and in some cases, even create new, more relevant ones.