Post Zondo – The Future of Democracy Colloquium

A colloquium entitled “Post Zondo: The Future of Democracy” was held on 22 June 2023 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) International Convention Centre, in Pretoria, South Africa. The three-fold purpose of the colloquium was:

1. To reflect on state capture and the findings of the “Judicial Commission on Inquiry into allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State (known popularly as the “Zondo Commission”) in a public arena outside of the courts;

2. To gauge public appetite for democracy as the best form of governance for South Africa; and

3. To read the mood of South African influencers (politicians, businesspeople, civil society activists, academics, and investigative journalists) who have been standard-bearers for the democratic project.

The colloquium constituted a key outcome of a project being conducted by the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) research division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa’s statutory institution for research into the human and social sciences and the largest body of its kind on the African continent. Dubbed the “Future of democracy”, the project seeks to continue the work of the Zondo Commission, in the first instance by recording, for posterity, the outputs of the Commission, to be housed in a legal library accessible to legal practitioners and scholars, the three arms of the state (the executive, the legislature and the judiciary), academics, organised business, organised labour, civil society, and the public at large.

In the wake of the capturing of the state investigated by the Zondo Commission, however, the project seeks also to explore societal attitudes not just to the outcomes of the Commission but to democracy itself, which has come under threat as the high levels of corruption epitomised in the attempted capture of the South African state have necessitated a reassessment of the best form of governance for South Africa. A final outcome of the project will be a book on the future of democracy that synthesises the body of work on the Zondo Commission, the colloquium here reported upon, and perspectives on the future directions of democracy in and for South Africa.

View the full colloquium report below:

Watch the colloquium: