‘There’s too little employment and too many rights now, but I trust government’. Exploring Democratic Legitimacy and Democratic Consolidation in relation to Violent Crime in four Black Townships of the Cape Town Region, South Africa. A field study funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through the Minor Field Study (MFS) programme

Research output: Book/ReportReportCommunication

Abstract

This is a cross-sectional field study exploring the relation between violent crime, democratic legitimacy and democratic consolidation in four Black townships of the Cape Town region, South Africa. Using judgmental sampling for the semi-structured interviews with 20 Xhosa respondents, the performance of the institutions and values of democracy is assessed in relation to the occurrence of, and fight against, violent crime.

Judging the legitimacy for regime institutions, the executive and the police are perceived to be doing an acceptable job whereas the performance of the courts and the Correctional Services is seen as highly unsatisfactory. In terms of democratic regime principles, the support is weaker – human rights and freedom are perceived to have caused important problems in the area of crime and law enforcement after 1994. Despite this, a majority of the respondents express strong support for the current regime. The dual status of ANC, comprising not just the incumbent government but also the former liberation fighters, has been identified in the study as the most important explanatory factor for the strong expression of legitimacy.

Several uncivil tendencies, such as the support for acts of violence committed by parents against children and by police against criminals, have been recognized as possible challenges to democratic consolidation in South Africa. The author argues however that the identified uncivil tendencies are not intrinsic but instrumental; supported only as means of preventing and reducing crime. Hence, the uncivil tendencies will most probably weaken at the same pace as the crime rate declines and will therefore probably not challenge democratic consolidation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUmeå
PublisherUmeå university
Number of pages109
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

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