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18 May 2021

Traditional leadership in the era of multi-party democracy: A focus on South Africa

The aim of this paper is to discuss this tension arising from traditional leadership in a constitutional democracy. Its key argument is that recognising an institution of traditional leadership, based on unelected leaders, in a democracy in which the central principle is elected representation, and giving such an institution political and executive powers on land and natural resources undermines the democratic project.

This book, Democracy Compromised: Chiefs and the Politics of Land in South Africa was first published in 2005 by Brill Academic Publishers in the Netherlands, and then in 2006 by the HSRC Press in South Africa. For purposes of this working paper, I use the 2006 edition of the book. 

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