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The state of civil society in South Africa: Past legacies, present realities, and future prospects

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The state of civil society in South Africa: Past legacies, present realities, and future prospects
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  The state of civil society in South Africa i The State of Civil Society in South Africa: past legacies, present realities andfuture prospectsRan Greenstein, Volkhart Heinrich and Kumi NaidooCASE/SANGOCO, 1998  The state of civil society in South Africa ii Table of Contents ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.............................................................................................................................................IEXECUTIVE SUMMARY.............................................................................................................................................IIINTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................................................1THEORETICAL AND COMPARATIVE CONTEXT.................................................................................................2 D EMOCRATIC TRANSITIONS ............................................................................................................................................2C IVIL SOCIETY – THEORETICAL DEFINITION ....................................................................................................................4 STATE AND CIVIL SOCIETY: REFLECTIONS ON SOUTH AFRICA.................................................................6 S OUTH A FRICA AND THE A FRICAN CONTEXT ..................................................................................................................7T HE GLOBAL CONTEXT ...................................................................................................................................................8C IVIL SOCIETY , STATE , AND DEMOCRACY .....................................................................................................................10 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: THE 1980S............................................................................................................13 T OTAL ONSLAUGHT AND TOTAL STRATEGY ..................................................................................................................14T HE RISE OF THE UDF..................................................................................................................................................14T HE RE - EMERGENCE OF THE ANC AND ITS ALLIES .......................................................................................................17T HE ROLE OF THE CHURCHES ........................................................................................................................................18 THE TRANSITION PERIOD: 1990-94.......................................................................................................................19 T HE RESTRUCTURING OF THE LIBERATION MOVEMENT .................................................................................................20T HE R ECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME ............................................................................................24F ROM OPPOSITION TO ENGAGEMENT – CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE LATE APARTHEID STATE ..............................................26 POST-APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA.......................................................................................................................29 F ROM RESISTANCE TO RECONSTRUCTION ......................................................................................................................29T HE NEW - OLD STATE IN TRANSITION ............................................................................................................................31S HIFTS IN THE NGO SECTOR .........................................................................................................................................34G OVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY ,   1994-96................................................................................................................36T HE RDP   – THE MAIN JUNCTION BETWEEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE STATE ..................................................................37C IVIL S OCIETY AFTER 1996: RE - EMERGENCE WITH GROWING CONFIDENCE ..................................................................40NGO S AND CIVIL SOCIETY PERSPECTIVES .....................................................................................................................43 CONCLUSIONS AND SCENARIOS FOR THE FUTURE.......................................................................................53INITIATIVES.................................................................................................................................................................60 S OCIO - ECONOMIC RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND THE TRC: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES ......................................................60E CONOMIC DEMOCRACY , THE BUDGET AND CIVIL SOCIETY ..........................................................................................61T HE CAMPAIGN ON THE APARTHEID DEBT : CIVIL SOCIETY AND MACRO - ECONOMIC INTERVENTIONS ............................61S OCIAL WELFARE AND POVERTY CAMPAIGNS ENABLE THE RE - EMERGENCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY .....................................62T HE MEN ’ S MARCH .......................................................................................................................................................62P OVERTY HEARINGS .....................................................................................................................................................63T HE W OMEN ’ S BUDGET INITIATIVE ..............................................................................................................................63W OMEN ’ S N ET ..............................................................................................................................................................64M ONITORING SOCIO - ECONOMIC RIGHTS .......................................................................................................................64 BIBLIOGRAPHY...........................................................................................................................................................66  The state of civil society in South Africa iii  The state of civil society in South Africa i A CKNOWLEDGEMENTS   This report is a joint product of the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (C A S E) and the SouthAfrican National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO). In working on, it we have benefited from thecontribution of many individuals. We would like to acknowledge in particular the contributionmade by members of the Reference Group, which included the Black Sash, Dr. Wolfram Kistner of the Ecumenical Advice Bureau, Eddie Makue of the South African Council of Churches (SACC),Annemarie Hendrikz of the Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT), Stiaan van der Merwe andBeyers Naude of Transparency International – South Africa (TISA), and Gerald Mthembi of theJoint Enrichment Project (JEP).For some sections of the report we have used interviews with NGOs conducted by PiersPigou and Nahla Valji of C A S E, and Palesa Morodu and Helle Starmose of SANGOCO. We havealso used the results of provincial consultations with NGOs held by SANGOCO, which werefacilitated by Zane Dangor and Ntibi Maepa of the Development Resources Centre, and SarahMashego of SANGOCO. We would like to thank them all for their work.  The state of civil society in South Africa ii E XECUTIVE S UMMARY   Introduction This study focuses on the srcins of the current state of relations between civil society and the statein South Africa, and the challenges and opportunities they present for civil society actors. Thequestion of how to reconcile the complex and contradictory roles of different social and politicalplayers in a society undergoing transformation is neither new nor unique to South Africa. It hasbeen shaped in this country by the particular circumstances of apartheid, the struggle against it, andthe developments in its aftermath. This report seeks to draw on the South African experience, learnfrom it, compare it with other relevant cases, and share the lessons with interested parties. Theoretical and comparative context The South African transition is a unique event, although in its timing and features it forms part of aglobal movement towards democratisation, dismantling of authoritarian control, and shifting therelations between society, economy, nation-state, and the international system. In the 1980s andearly 1990s processes of transitions to democracy unfolded in a large number of countries, all of which provide lessons that could be useful in coming to terms with the South African transition.From a theoretical perspective, we focus on the inherent tension between the formation of alliances to facilitate democratic transition, and the emergence of divisions in its aftermath. Of interest are the relations between state and civil society in the transition process. A definition of civil society as a sphere of social interaction between economy and state, which is institutionalisedand generalised through laws and rights, is adopted in this study. Civil society is based in non-classforms of collective action, oriented towards and linked to the legal, associational, and publicinstitutions of society. Once formal democracy has been achieved, civil society forces should seek to reshape the relations of individuals to the public and the political spheres of society and state. State and civil society: reflections on South Africa The relations between state and civil society was not a major issue in the struggle fordemocratisation in South Africa. During the apartheid era, democratic forces in South Africa didnot generally challenge the prominence of the state as such, but rather the specific uses to whichstate power was put. Civil society consisted of organisations and structures that positionedthemselves outside of the state, due to its inherently undemocratic character, but acted to change thedistribution of power in society and bring about a democratic system of governance. It was thepolicies and priorities of state structures that were a source of concern, not their existence andpowers in relation to society.Tensions were inevitable between opposition forces that were oriented primarily towards theseizure of power (for whom a basis in civil society was a temporary measure), and forces thatwished to remain rooted in civil society. These tensions were largely suppressed during the 1980s,to allow a united front against the common enemy, but they started to rise to the surface with thedemise of apartheid and the beginning of the transition process.
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