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South Africa

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As South Africa’s National Assembly prepares to review the draconian information bill, Freedom House calls for a thorough overhaul of this draft legislation to provide stronger protections for freedom of expression and access to information.

U.S. president Barack Obama’s current visit to South Africa, the second stop in his three-nation tour of Africa, presents an opportunity to examine the state of the country’s democracy. Former president Nelson Mandela is rightly praised for overseeing a smooth transition from apartheid in the early 1990s, and South Africa remains the anchor of an African subregion that is dominated by Free societies, according to Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World report. However, the country’s scores have been slowly deteriorating for several years, and it has yet to achieve a rotation of power among competing parties—an important step in the maturation of democratic governance. These are signs that South Africa, which is often cited as a model for other African states, should not take its freedoms for granted.


Freedom House urges President Obama to address the democracy and human rights challenges confronting Africa in his upcoming visit to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania from June 26 to July 3. President Obama must stress to African leaders that building durable democracies as well as vibrant economies is essential to sustained growth in the region.




Project Director, Southern Africa

Signature Reports

Special Reports

Strengthening participation of young people in South Africa's electoral and democratic processes

The political parties vary in impressions as to the specificity (or not) of issues that concern the youth. The issues are both substantive (concerning aspects of public policy and government action) and procedural (relevant to participation in elections and politics). Parties strive to expand their use of social media. However, the diverse demographic backgrounds of their supporters dictate that they will use a mix of traditional media (pamphlets, newsletters, speeches, door-to-door grassroots visits), intermediary electronic media (SMS and email), and social or new media (Twitter, Facebook, Mxit, WhatsApp, Google broadcasts, podcasts).


Freedom House undertook rapid conflict assessments in 16 at-risk communities in six provinces throughout South Africa.