Day 1 of the course was quite enlightening in the sense that it was a great exposure to hear what other students had to say about Democracy and how far such is in South Africa.
Other participants thought it to be an ideology of some kind, questioned if such an idea is ideal for South Africa and if it will also be viable as a means of operation/governance in the future. To some extent, questions were even brought forth on whether this has been a success or not. Furthermore, it was even alluded that this democracy has somehow contributed to South Africa's triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
It was just unfortunate to realise that Democracy is mainly or largely measure against the issue of who holds or drives the economy and also if our government is democratic. My departure or divergence to this drawn perception is that democracy is not only limited to how far functioning is the South African government or how far is it in responding to the triple challenges. Even so, the idea that government has not been effective is not quite accurate and therefore cannot be used to measure the efficacy of Democracy. For an example, looking into the #FeesMustFall struggle, the Centre for Higher Education and the NSFAS body has released a report on the excess millions of Rands that have been wasted in bursary schemes to support disadvantaged students whom did not complete their studies. Perhaps NSFAS and other schemes are not sufficient to respond to the triple challenges or act as an epitome of a democratic act - they are however, a positive step towards democracy.
Moreover, recently in Limpopo, schools were burned down as a grievances translated to violence and the violent energy resulted in the burning of schools and other facilities that are provided by government. Demolishing these assets in an attempt to demonstrate the seriousness of the need for a service delivery is an antithesis to the very same services delivery we claim to need. Therefore, what then does this mean for the individual learner whom his education is compromised as a result of a compromise. Is that learner's freedom and right to education infringed upon by government or individuals in the community? What about Democracy at this level of human relations?
Furthermore, is it the policies of our government that do not exhibit or exemplify democracy or is it in fact the implementation of those policies? or is there a failure to employ efficient monitoring systems to every department or centre of administration/implementation?
With all this said, I still believe that South Africa is a democratic state and that the very lively democracy or progress to such a democratic state is obscured by corruption, less efficiently monitored-administration, the additional economic constraints (high school and university failure rate, demolishing public property, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AID, etc.). Again, lack of policy positions to manage and minimize the effects these has on the efficacy of government and consequently the viability of democracy.