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Social and economic change since 1994: The electoral implications

Year: 2004
Working paper number: 083
Author: Seekings, Jeremy
Unit: DARU

Between 1994 and 2004, the South African electorate changed in a number of important respects.  Approximately one-third of the potential electorate in 2004 was too young to vote in 1994; they comprise a post-apartheid generation, for whom apartheid was something learnt about, not remembered.  Inter-provincial migration also shapes potential voting patterns. Social and economic change after apartheid has begun to reshape political cleavages in South Africa, although the process has been muted due to the resilience of racial identity, deep-rooted political loyalties and the particular character of social and economic grievances.  The growing black middle-class enjoys considerable political power, as does organised labour (which includes typical middle-class occupations such as teachers as well as more conventional working-class occupations).  Both of these classes have distinct class interests, and have secured public policies that favour them.  Although there are signs of rising class consciousness among the poor, this is yet to find political expression in either civil or political society.

Publication file: wp83.pdf