Satisfaction with the way democracy is working in post-apartheid South Africa



Davids YD & Hadland A (2008) Satisfaction with the way democracy is working in post-apartheid South Africa. Politikon, 35 (3), pp. 277-291.

A constitution, relatively well-run elections and stable elected representative institutions are not sufficient for democratic consolidation. It is argued that democracies require people who are willing to support, defend and sustain them. The article emphasizes that the use of ‘satisfaction with democracy' as the dependent variable is a more appropriate method to assess the way a democracy is working than determining support for democracy. However, the lack of a suitable indicator has prompted the use of the satisfaction indicator as a proxy for support for democracy. A multidimensional approach is adopted to explain satisfaction with democracy. The study is based on a South African national representative survey conducted in 2005. The article concludes that South Africans seem satisfied with the way democracy is working if the overall life circumstances of all citizens are good, if their own situation is improving and if they have trust in institutions. On the other hand, the study found that government performance in policy areas such as housing had no significant impact on satisfaction with democracy.

Politikon: Volume 35, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2008
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Adrian Hadland

Professor Adrian Hadland

Professor, Communications, Media and Culture