A single election in South Africa: Whose interests does it serve? (Discussion Paper and Event Report)

Isandla Institute

This paper and report on the Roundtable seeks to critically review the (embryonic) arguments in favour of the coupling of elections. More importantly, it makes the case for a thorough assessment of arguments and factors in favour/against the coupling of elections and of relevant electoral and election management, political, service delivery and governance implications thereof.

The discussion paper seeks to identify a number of key starting points that ought to frame further discussions on coupling or decoupling of elections in South Africa. In doing this, it draws on select international examples from countries that have experience with (de)coupling of elections. This paper concludes with a call for further investigation and broad-based stakeholder and public dialogue to arrive at an informed national consensus on this issue. In Isandla Institute's perspective, the critical issue informing any such assessment or dialogue is whether a single election will be in the interest of participatory local democracy and accelerated, inclusive development.

The Event Report captures the different perspectives that emerged during the discussions at the Politics of Local Governance Roundtable held on 6 September 2011.

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