South Africa is a constitutional democracy. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, it has been regarded globally as a proponent of human rights and a leader on the African continent. However, reports of corruption among government officials often emerge, and in recent years, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been accused of undermining state institutions to protect corrupt officials and preserve its power as its support base has begun to wane. Gender-based violence is a severe challenge.
Freedom in the World — South Africa Country Report
South Africa is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2023, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.
Freedom on the Net— South Africa Country Report
South Africa is rated Free in Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe.
Our Work in South Africa
Freedom House’s Promoting Civic Education and Participation in South Africa program seeks to strengthen the ability of civil society and community-based organizations to conduct civic education activities in their communities and to support their efforts to strengthen citizen participation in political processes. The program aims to facilitate engagement between citizens and their local and national representatives, increasing the use of tools that improve citizens’ ability to hold government officials accountable.
Civic Education and Participation in South Africa
Civic Education and Participation in South Africa, funded by the Human Rights Support Mechanism, is a four-year program led by Freedom House that seeks to ensure that South African citizens have the knowledge of their constitutional rights, tools, and platforms to engage meaningfully in the political process. The program’s goal is to strengthen the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to more effectively conduct civic education activities in their communities. The program mentors and supports those CSOs and CBOs to engage citizens in the political process, facilitate touch-points with their local and national representatives, and introduce tools that citizens can use to hold the government accountable.
Building our Community for All: Study Circle Handbook
This study circle handbook, titled “Here we are – building community for all” introduces readers to the Constitution of South Africa and the Bill of Rights. It contains information about the workings of the South African government, teaches basic skills, and presents inspiring examples of how citizens can build “people power” and help strengthen their democracy. Any small group of people who would like to be more informed and empowered can use this handbook as a self-study course. Groups using the handbook will be able to participate more actively in building and strengthening their communities. The handbook has been prepared for the HSRM Civic Education and Participation Program. While the methodology is transferable, the content is specific to South Africa.
To learn more about our work in the region, visit our Sub-Saharan Africa programs page.
News & Perspectives on South Africa
Eswatini: End Use of Lethal Force against Protesters
June 30, 2021
The Impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous Peoples in Southern Africa
December 10, 2020
How to Protect Both Public Health and Privacy
April 6, 2020
South Africa: Authorities Must Improve Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers
January 14, 2020
Bridging the Gap between South Africa’s Lofty Ideals and Violent Reality
October 10, 2019