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Democratic FederalismThe Economics, Politics, and Law of Federal Governance$
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Robert Inman and Daniel L. Rubinfeld

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691202129

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691202129.001.0001

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Mandela’s Federal Democracy

Mandela’s Federal Democracy

A Fragile Compact

(p.340) 10 Mandela’s Federal Democracy
Democratic Federalism

Robert P. Inman

Daniel L. Rubinfeld

Princeton University Press

This chapter studies the central role that the institutions of Democratic Federalism played in South Africa's transition from apartheid to a multiracial democracy, one of the most important political events of the last century. While both apartheid's governing National Party (NP) and the resistance's African National Congress (ANC) agreed that the century of suppression and armed resistance must end, negotiations over exactly how the new democratic government should be designed were far from harmonious. The NP wished to protect the economic interests of the once-ruling elite and rural landowners, while the ANC was committed to a significant expansion of essential public services for the poor: health care, education, and housing. In the background was a desire to avoid the damaging consequences of Zimbabwe's monolithic unitary government, a concern for both the ANC and the NP. They compromised on a middle ground of shared governance with politically independent provincial and metropolitan governments constitutionally assigned to provide all important local services, and a separately elected national parliament and president responsible for setting the overall rate of taxation and funding for local services. The federal compromise has worked, so far, to the economic benefit of most South Africans.

Keywords:   Democratic Federalism, South Africa, apartheid, multiracial democracy, National Party, African National Congress, democratic government, shared governance

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