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Patronage Politics Divides Us
A Study of Poverty, Patronage and Inequality in South Africa

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Patronage politics divides us: A study of poverty, patronage and inequality in South Africa is the culmination of a research project that forms part of MISTRA's first suite of eight priority research projects.

Über den Autor

The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) was founded by a group of South Africans with experience in research, academia, policy-making and governance who saw the need to create a platform of engagement around strategic issues facing South Africa. It is an Institute that combines research and academic development, strategic reflection and intellectual discourse. It applies itself to issues such as economics, sociology, history, arts and culture and the logics of natural sciences.


Patronage Politics Divides Us: A Study of Poverty, Patronage and Inequality in South Africa explores the relationship between patronage, poverty, and inequality with a particular focus on its impact on the conduct of local politics. The overall aim of the study was to explore the possibility of constituting public institutions in a manner that enables them to become legitimate arbiters between the various interests, rather than as instruments that are captured by contending interest groups for their own accumulation. Most importantly, this study was necessitated by the realisation that post-apartheid patronage politics has not received sufficient scholarly attention. This research study aims to help fill that gap, especially by contributing empirical research to the subject. The report goes beyond answering the primary questions of the study: it is a profile of socio economic life in South Africa's various communities as experienced not only by locals, but also by foreign-born residents. The findings provide a window on relationships between councillors, business interests, and local party organisations