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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Power, patronage, and gatekeeper politics in South Africa
Author:Beresford, Alexander
Year:2015
Periodical:African affairs: the journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Volume:114
Issue:455
Pages:226-248
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:African National Congress (South Africa)
elite
patronage
Link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/114/455/226.abstract
Abstract:This article examines the rise of gatekeeper politics within the ANC, drawing on an analysis of ANC discussion documents, key informant interviews with senior party officials, and interviews and observations from the ANC's centenary policy conference. On the basis of this material, the author identifies the symptoms and consequences of gatekeeper politics, including the growth of patronage networks, crony capitalism, and bitter factional struggles within the party. He argues that, rather than resembling some uniquely 'African' form of political aberration and breakdown, gatekeeper politics should be viewed within a broader spectrum of patronage politics evident elsewhere in the world, because it is intrinsically bound up with the development of capitalism. Political leaders who occupy positions of authority in the party or public service act as gatekeepers by regulating access to the resources and opportunities that they control. A volatile politics of inclusion and exclusion emerges and provokes bitter factional struggles within the ANC as rival elites compete for power. The rise of gatekeeper politics undermines both the organizational integrity of the ANC and its capacity to deliver on its electoral mandate. It can also depoliticize social injustice in post-apartheid South Africa by co-opting popular struggles over access to resources that might otherwise challenge the political status quo. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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