South Africa’s “good story to tell” has come under increasing pressure in recent times. Being an open economy exposed to global trends and events, there was no way South Africa could avoid the consequences of the commodity downturn and financial crisis of 2008. Domestic political infighting has hampered the evolution of coherent economic policies and led to heightened racial tensions, a ratings downgrade to junk status, and fears that the country’s decline could become irreversible.
But beneath the daily headlines lies a remarkably stable country, with energetic and capable people going about their daily lives, building for the future. Despite South Africa’s rambunctious version of democratic expression, its Constitution and Bill of Rights remain robust and widely respected.
The institutions of governance, transparency and accountability, and the rule of law are deeply ingrained in the exercise of government authority. Strong political parties, civil society formations, NGOs, and faithbased organisations combine with a free and diverse media landscape to create an environment in which freedom of expression is given full voice.