News & events


26 July 2021

South Africa since 1994: A mixed bag of presidents and patchy decisions


The coronavirus pandemic has placed the leadership of presidents and prime ministers across the world under the most unforgiving spotlight. It has exposed underlying weaknesses and revealed hidden strengths.

An extreme crisis like this provides the most searching examination of a political leader – a very acute form of accountability. Such a crisis can make or break a leader or a president.

South Africa is a country that faces a crisis of leadership. Against a backdrop of a former president being jailed for contempt of court for failing to appear before a commission of inquiry probing state capture and corruption, public trust has unsurprisingly declined. This has come through in research, including studies by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).

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