The achievements of the last 15 years, however significant, are overshadowed by the old and new challenges facing the nation. The South African honeymoon is over. The “Mandela and liberation dividend” has been fully settled. When the euphoria is over, it is easy for cynicism to creep in.

What has fundamentally gone wrong?

The nub of it is that we have failed to appreciate and understand the imperatives of running a modern democratic state. In addition, while South Africa has a strong civil society in general, since 1994 citizens have largely disengaged or been co-opted into government or party structures. Democracy and development are seldom gifts from political parties. More accurately, they are functions of a healthy interface between the state and an alert and active citizenry. It is our contention that the nature of this interface will largely determine the direction taken by the country in the next ten years.

Political challenges
Economic development challenges
Social challenges



Perspectives from members of the Dinokeng Scenario Team.

Why are we feeling so disempowered? It’s because the power we have now is different to the power we used to have. Our power derived from the political movement; our reach was bigger. The power we exercise now has a different reach. Why are we reluctant to exercise our power? It’s because it means taking on ourselves, our government. It’s like rebelling against your own parents. We gave power over to the leaders with the expectation that they would deliver.

The boundaries between the ruling party and state structures have become blurred. State structures are held captive by the ruling party.