Occasional Reports

Life in South Africa: Reasons for Hope

This report is about the things that have gone right in South Africa. It features a selection of the socio-economic successes we have achieved as a country and the many ways in which life has become better. Some people will think it an odd time to release such a report. The context is one in which the economy is not performing strongly. Too many people are unemployed. There is a great deal of corruption. Violent protests are commonplace. Questions are being asked about the future of South Africa’s democracy. This report was released in Johannesburg in November 2016.

Going off the Rails: The Slide Towards the Lawless South African State

The lawlessness of South Africa as a country is matched only by the lawlessness of the state itself. The lawlessness which now characterises the behaviour of the president, top policemen, and the prosecuting authorities is but the tip of a large iceberg. The ultimate guardians of legality are our courts, but they are insulted, their orders are sometimes ignored, and their decisions are taken on endless appeals. This report was released in Johannesburg in October 2016.

The Rise of The New Right - South Africa's road to 2024

South Africa’s transition to democracy was a brutal and violent era characterised by extraordinary political ruthlessness. This propensity for ruthlessness, which we believe still resides within South Africa’s politics, is the first of two insights around which this analysis will suggest where South Africa may now be headed. This report was released in Johannesburg in October 2016.

Air Quality - Missing the wood for the trees

When examining South Africa’s air quality, the media and activists focus too often on mining and industrial pollution and the liability of corporations and state-owned enterprises. While this scrutiny is not wrong, it loses sight of a problem that is not only more prevalent but much more difficult to solve: indoor air pollution. This report was released in Johannesburg in September 2016.

A stealth tax, not a health tax

The cash-strapped South African government needs to bring in more revenue but is reluctant overtly to raise the VAT rate, which would unleash a political storm. Instead, it is planning to raise some R10.5bn – half of what an increase in the VAT rate from 14% to 15% would yield – by introducing a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). This report was released in Johannesburg in September 2016.

Winning the war on crime in South Africa - a new approach to community policing

IRR analysts have shown that despite declining by approximately 50% since 1994 South Africa’s murder rate remains significantly higher than that of a series of most other societies.

The rate remains almost seven times higher than that in the United States of America and ten times higher than that in India. The murder rate has also broken its long term pattern of decline and is again increasing. Numbers of residential robberies and business robberies have spiked since 2003. This report was released in Johannesburg in May 2016. 

NGS: National Growth Strategy

The IRR has drafted a new economic recovery plan for South Africa called the National Growth Strategy (NGS).

The NGS is an economic recovery plan that has been drafted by the policy team at the IRR to be implemented over the period 2016 to 2019 as the basis of a long term economic recovery targeting GDP growth levels of 7% by the end of the decade.

The report was released in Johannesburg on Monday, 16 May 2016.

Race Relations in South Africa – Reasons for Hope

The Race Relations in South Africa – Reasons for Hope report has found that race relations in South Africa are in a good state. The report was based on a field survey commissioned by the IRR.

The results should fill all South Africans with hope. The acrimonious race debate that has raged in newspapers and on social media this year is not a reflection of what the silent majority of South Africans feel. The great majority of South Africa’s people respect each other and want to continue getting on well with each other. This is remarkable considering the poverty and unemployment levels that still confront our society. It is testimony to the commitment of the majority of South Africans to see our democracy succeed. That relations remain sound is not a reason for complacency, however, and sound future relations will depend on continuing real improvements in the living standards of all South Africans.

The report was released in Johannesburg on Monday, 29 February 2016.

Born free but still in chains: South Africa’s first post-apartheid generation

Born frees, people born after 1990, will increasingly become more involved in violent protests, and abandon democratic institutions, due to ongoing political and economic alienation.

This is according to the South African Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) Born free but still in chains: South Africa’s first post-apartheid generation report. The report provides an investigation into the extent of this alienation and what can be done to include born frees politically, economically and socially. The report was released in Johannesburg on the 29th of April 2015.

The IRR's Better Expropriation Bill – 22 April 2015

The Expropriation Bill of 2015, which was released by the minister of public works, Thulas Nxesi, in January this year, is unconstitutional and economically damaging. This Bill should be withdrawn and replaced by a new ‘expropriation amendment bill’ which is fully compliant with the Constitution and contains adequate safeguards against any abuse of the power to expropriate. The IRR has drawn up the framework for an alternative bill.

Overview of the IRR's Proposed Expropriation Bill – 22 April 2015

The IRR’s alternative Expropriation Amendment Bill (a framework document which is also available on the IRR website), deals with direct and indirect expropriation by all expropriating authorities – whether the minister of works or any other organ of state. It covers both movable and immovable property as well as mining and water rights; mortgages, servitudes, and other registered rights; shares in companies; and intellectual property rights, including patent rights.

Broken Blue Line 2

This is the second report of the Broken Blue Line project – the first having been published by the IRR in 2011. As in 2011 this 2015 report examines the extent to which the police are involved in perpetrating criminal violence.

There should be no need for such a report as the police should be our primary line of defence against criminal violence. However, as you will read, in too many cases that line of defence has broken down and the supposed defenders have become perpetrators. As long as the police service remains a home to violent criminals it is very unlikely that South Africa will experience a sustained and significant decline in serious and violent crime. It is essential therefore that pressure be brought to bear on political authorities to take police criminality seriously and deal with it effectively. Creating such pressure is also one of the most effective means by which South Africa can support the eff orts of hard working and committed members of the police service.

Our thanks are extended to the civil rights organisation AfriForum which provided the funding for this report. Without their commitment and investment in the safety of South Africa’s people this report would not have been produced.

© 2018 South African Institute of Race Relations
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