chapter  9
30 Pages

Reclaiming Democratic Spaces: Civics and Politics in Posttransition Johannesburg

The posttransition period in Johannesburg has witnessed a dramatic recon-figuration in the relationship between political and civil society. The African National Congress (ANC) has rapidly consolidated its control by either incorporating or marginalizing the popular movements that brought it to power. In addition, the imperatives of a top-down vision and strategy of transformation have resulted in the increasing centralization and insulation of the institutions of municipal governance. A number of observers have read into these trends a decline in the autonomy and vitality of civil society. Indeed, it has become something of a cliché to claim that the civic movement in Johannesburg-celebrated not so long ago as the most vibrant urban social movement in the world-is in complete disarray.