Download this publication

The role of parliaments is a neglected topic in the study of the democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa. This working paper provides a case study of the South African parliament from the first democratic elections in 1994 to the present. The paper examines the external environment and the internal characteristics of parliament and provides a description of the institution. The second part discusses the dominant party, the ANC, and its role in the evolution of parliament. The paper concludes that the South African parliament has substantial powers. These powers have also been used by the new parliamentarians. An important condition for its success is the resources available to Parliament and its ability to rely on alternative expertise and knowledge available through universities, interest groups and others. However, it is also concluded that parliament's ability to influence public policy is critically dependent on the ruling ANC and their commitment to parliamentary politics, rules and regulations.

Recent CMI publications: