30 Jun 2016

CCR and FHR public dialogue on "South Africa in Southern Africa: 'Good Governance' vs. Regional Solidarity"

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, in collaboration with the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR), Johannesburg, invites you to a public dialogue on "South Africa in Southern Africa: 'Good Governance' vs. Regional Solidarity". The meeting will be held on Thursday, 30 June 2016 at the Centre for the Book, 62 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town, from 17h30 to 19h00.

Professor Lloyd M. Sachikonye, Associate Professor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, and Dr David Monyae, Co-Director, University of Johannesburg Confucius Institute (UJCI), will address the meeting.

Since its establishment in 1992, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has sought to enshrine human rights, democracy, and the rule of law as commonly held political values. South Africa is the most powerful country in the 15-member Community, accounting for about 70 percent of its economy. As such, Tshwane has the capacity to play a leadership role and contribute to fostering more democratic processes in Southern Africa.

The 1996 South African Bill of Rights is regarded as one of the world's most progressive, and the country's transparent and participatory governance structures are a positive example for the sub-region. Informed by the experience of its own democratic transition, South Africa has also been a key player in responding to constitutional crises in the sub-region including in Lesotho and Zimbabwe. President Thabo Mbeki, for example, helped to craft Zimbabwe's 2008 Global Political Agreement, providing for a government of national unity that increased political and economic stability in the country. His successor, Jacob Zuma, continued to lead SADC's efforts to implement this agreement.

South Africa has, however, been constrained in its efforts to foster greater respect for human rights and democracy in the sub-region by regimes such as Swaziland's absolutist monarchy. Tshwane was also criticised for helping to legitimise Zimbabwe's flawed elections in 2002, 2005, and 2008. South Africa has been reticent in wielding its political clout in the sub-region in defence of human rights and democratic values to avoid the role of an overbearing hegemon and to maintain regional solidarity. President Zuma was part of the 2012 SADC summit that effectively dissolved the Community's tribunal, following a series of judgements against Zimbabwe brought by white farmers in 2008. South Africa, along with other sub-regional governments, has been reluctant to cede any significant power to SADC, which has struggled to implement commitments such as the 1997 Declaration on Gender and Development recognising gender equality as a fundamental human right.

For further information, please contact Elizabeth Myburgh at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Full press release » (PDF, 329KB)

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