Focus 56 Chapters

Focus 54 - 2nd Quarter 2009 - Post Poll Politics

South Africa’s vibrancy as a democracy is attested to by the fact that not a single edition of FOCUS goes by without a considerable number of significant political events occurring within the scope of a quarter – every single quarter! This past quarter is no different.

Issue Eleven - April 2009 - Paying the Piper: Regulating Party Funding in South African Politics

The election campaign for the fourth democratically elected Government and Parliament of the Republic of South Africa has been one of the most expensive in our history. As our political parties spawn new market entrants into the party political space and others grow and consolidate their financial needs magnify accordingly. In terms of existing laws and regulations, particularly the fund established in accordance with the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Fund Act.

Human Rights Dialogue 01

Thank you for joining us for the launch of the Helen Suzman Foundation’s Human Rights Dialogue Series. We have assembled an accomplished panel for this first edition. They work in various sections of civil society and independently in universities, and have been working and writing in the field of human rights in a variety of roles and configurations for a considerable period of time.

Focus 53 - 1st Quarter 2009 - Suzman Tribute Edition

This edition of FOCUS marks a solemn and sad event – the passing of our beloved Patron-in-Chief Helen Suzman. It is a moment of bereavement we wish to mark by publishing a special Helen Suzman Tribute edition as a fitting honour to a life well-lived with a sound moral compass.

Focus 52 - 4th Quarter 2008

South Africa is rapidly approaching its fourth democratic poll and there is a tangible and undeniable Obama-esque sense of change in the air. Voters registered in record numbers during the Independent Electoral Commission’s first bout of voter registration in November. One could almost hear the silent chants of ‘Yes we can!’ echo through the very firmament of our democracy as younger generations of voters lined up, free of the demons of the past.

Focus 51 - 3rd Quarter 2008

In 1999, Mr Global Reconciliation Statesman handed the reins of power and policy formulation to Mr Delivery. What we will see in 2009 is a handover from Mr Delivery to Mr Complexity. For if the degree of delivery accomplished in the past ten years is arguable, there can be no doubt about the degree of complexity the new administration will face.

Focus 50 - 2nd Quarter 2008

Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday is both a poignant moment in history and a time to reflect on current political trends in South Africa We celebrate Mandela’s crowning achievements, but simultaneously have to ask ourselves as a country what we intend to do with his legacy. Mandela himself in recent months has asked tough questions of the new leadership group and, in the wake of the spate of violent attacks on foreigners and South Africans alike, called for a renewed commitment to unity on Youth Day.

Focus 49 - 1st Quarter 2008

This edition of FOCUS covers events and fora that analysed the build-up to and events at the ANC’s 52nd Conference in December 2007. The Polokwane Conference culminated in a conclusion to the year’s succession battle and the installation of Jacob Zuma as newly elected President of the ANC with Kgalema-Motlanthe as his Deputy.

Focus 48 - 4th Quarter 2007 (Part 1)

Some countries have the rare gift of the lives of spectacular individuals at different epochs of history and their national narratives. These individuals offer them examples, give the necessary voice to key issues confronting societies and, very often, sacrifice much en route to the changes that they inevitably seek. This PDF has been split due to its size.

Focus 48 - 4th Quarter 2007 (Part 2)

Some countries have the rare gift of the lives of spectacular individuals at different epochs of history and their national narratives. These individuals offer them examples, give the necessary voice to key issues confronting societies and, very often, sacrifice much en route to the changes that they inevitably seek. This PDF has been split due to its size.

Focus 47 - 3rd Quarter 2007

The new look Focus is substantively different from its predecessors and has a completely different look and feel. In this edition we focus on Parliament as our cover feature, launch our new book corner and carry a variety of articles across the political spectrum. We hope that our readers will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy bringing you a new quality product.

Focus 46 - 2nd Quarter 2007

Editorial: The Constitution and June Conference Decisions. Eglin crossing borders of power: Suzman hosts Eglin memoirs launch.

Focus 44 - 4th Quarter 2006

Debating ANC policy preferences: Editorial by Raenette Taljaard. Mayor Zille survives dubious manoeuvres: Jonathan Faull identifies ANC in-fighting as a major political factor in Cape Town.

Focus 43 - 3rd Quarter 2006

Succession: balancing continuity with change: Editorial: Withdrawal from the ANC alliance in the offing : Patrick Laurence appraises the possibility of a black nationalist withdrawal from the tripartite alliance.

Focus 41 - 1st Quarter 2006

Defend judiciary from trespassers: Editorial. Mbeki 'dictatorship' fuels Zuma's cause: Sipho Seepe reflects on the ominous implications of the ANC's annus horribilis in 2005.

Going for Growth

The Helen Suzman Foundation and Gordon Institute of Business Science held a thought-provoking Conference where we probed how we can continue our country’s growth trajectory amidst global turmoil and local challenges.

Helen Suzman Inaugural Lecture

The Helen Suzman Foundation seeks to promote constitutional liberal democracy and human rights. As an active member of South African civil society, The Helen Suzman Foundation contributes to debates on contemporary events and institutional challenges that form part of efforts to consolidate democracy.

Issue Ten- March 2009 - Electoral Economics in the eye of a global storm

South Africa’s economic policy landscape has experienced one global financial crisis before. It emanated from Asia in the early 1990s, uncomfortably coinciding with our country’s transition to democracy at a time when a new administration had to win the hearts and minds, and confidence, of the global economy and international investors. The response to this crisis, the fiscal austerity of the Growth, Employment and Redistribution Strategy (GEAR) adopted by the South African government in 1996, was, and remains, a controversial policy response. It caused significant strain within the tripartite alliance, despite there clearly being very little domestic policy room amid a deepening crisis that engulfed all emerging markets and confronted a new government with no economic-policy track record with immediate and complex questions.

Issue Nine - December 2008 - Protecting and Defending our Constitution

The longevity of founding documents, declarations and constitutions are the preserve of all citizens who care about the ethos that inspires the societies they inhabit, and it lies in a complex process of internalising the visionary values of these social contracts and acting, and structuring our actions and our words, every day, to further the ideals espoused in them.

Issue Eight - November 2008 - Courts in a Crucible?

The past year has been a challenging one for South Africa’s judiciary. It has been both the object and subject of much political controversy. Judges have been in the spotlight of controversy, senior political leaders of various affiliations have brazenly and calculatedly attacked the judiciary under the guise of legitimate criticism and judges themselves have acted in ways that have posed new challenges for the judiciary as a whole (with a judge of the High Courts and the justices of the Constitutional Court at loggerheads). The situation has furthermore posed challenges for the operation and procedures of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and the concept of judicial misconduct and for the manner in which the public view the judiciary, the legitimacy of the courts and the justness of rulings from the bench.

Issue Seven - July 2008 - Electoral Reform and Responsive Representation

The Helen Suzman Foundation thought it prudent – with an election campaign mere months away – and the Electoral Task Teams’ call for a new mixed electoral system to be in place by 2009 to convene our second QRS this year to discuss Electoral Reform and Responsive Representation. The debate around electoral reform in South Africa has had a distinct journey with constitutional negotiators opting for a system of closed-list proportional representation at national and provincial levels of government with a mixed system at local government level.

Issue Six - April 2008 - Media Freedom

The Fourth Estate’s freedom requires eternal vigilance. The previous year – 2007 – has become etched in the South African memory as the year the media confronted various challenges and obstacles. These ranged from the controversial Film and Publications Amendment Bill to the litigation about the Sunday Times’ coverage of the Minister of Health and its aftermath which included some concerning developments with respect to the freedom of the press. These developments included the prospect of an arrest of the Editor of the Sunday Times and/or senior journalists, the statements published by key civil servants after a court order clearly and carefully sought to balance the Minister of Health's right to privacy and the public interest raising questions about their respect for the judiciary and the threat of government’s advertising revenue being withdrawn from the Sunday Times raised by the Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad. All these events increased the volume on the prospect of a new statutory regulatory body to be created – a Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT). This flurry of activity also sparked more debates when Koni Media launched a bid for then Johncom Ltd. (now Avusa Ltd).

Issue Five - December 2007 - The Final Stretch: Building up to Polokwane

It is a great honour for us to host the last of the Helen Suzman Foundation's Quarterly Roundtable Series for 2007. We're doing it at a rather opportune time, a few days before the kick-off, no pun intended, of the Polokwane Conference. We’ve asked some of the best and brightest analytical minds in our contemporary political environment to join us in a discussion on “The Final Stretch”. We literally are in the final stretch, and there are very interesting events emerging. We have Winnie Madikizela Mandela trying to broker agreements between the Mbeki and Zuma camps.

Issue Three - September 2007 - Future Politics: Change, coalitions or status quo?

Last year The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) started the Quarterly Roundtable Series. We aim to use this series to further public discourse on matters of national interest and national importance, and we have already hosted two roundtables. The first dealt with the impact of political culture on democratic institutions, and in the second, we looked at the review of Chapter Nine institutions.

Issue Two - March 2007 - Chapter Nines - Review, Reform or Reduction?

The Helen Suzman Foundation launched its Annual Quarterly Roundtable Series in 2006 aimed at stimulating debate on issues relevant to the future of democracy in South Africa and to explore matters related to politics and governance of South Africa. This Roundtable on the Review of Chapter Nine Institutions, currently in progress under the auspices of a parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of State Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy and the Public Service Commission chaired by Prof. Kader Asmal, MP, was convened to ensure that...

Issue One - December 2006 - The impact of political culture and traditions on democratic institutions and the consolidation of democracy

This is the first in The Helen Suzman Foundation’s new Quarterly Roundtable Series: The impact of political culture and traditions on democratic institutions and the consolidation of democracy. “There is a challenge confronting advocates of the values of tolerance and liberal constitutional democracy in all walks of life, in all political organisations and in all social movements. It is important to distinguish between those who wield political power for the common good and those who wield it for the sake of access to economic opportunity.”

Focus 55 - November 2009 - Images of Justice

‘Justice’ is a protean concept. ‘Law and order’ are maintained by governments and ruling elites in its name. Revolutions and popular insurrections are conducted under its legitimating aegis.


‘Justice’ is a protean concept. ‘Law and order’ are maintained by governments and ruling elites in its name.