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In a few weeks SA will have been a democracy for 27 years. This is not a long time as far as the history of democracy goes, but it is long enough to tell us what the key characteristics of SA’s democracy are.

A most striking feature is that a large proportion of the electorate has already lost interest in elections and no longer bother to vote. For a recently liberated country it is noticeable how quickly voter turnout has declined. The turnout reached its peak in 1999 during the second democratic election at 89.3% of registered voters. By 2019 it had declined to 65.9%...

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