South African Councillor Panel Study

The South African Councillor Panel Study (SACOPS) project focuses on the role of politicians in democratic governance, and specifically the role played by local government councillors. More than 20 years after its first democratic election, South Africa is rife with protests and complaints about access to and quality of local government services. And yet it is also the case that many elected local leaders are hard-working agents of democratic government, and millions of South Africans have gained improved access to better services since the end of apartheid. What accounts for the attitudes and actions of these important agents of democratic government?

In this project, postgraduate student researchers from UCT, WITS and MIT, will track a small sample of local government ward councillors. They will gather monthly data through interviews, attendance and observation of government meetings, newspaper reports, and transmissions on social media. The project will also conduct a large scale survey of local councillors. The project is led by Professor Evan Lieberman at MIT, in collaboration with the CSSR and Department of Political Studies (UCT), and the Wits School of Government.

Read the SACOPS report here.

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