Multiparty Democracy in South Africa and Ethiopia: The Role of Cities

On 27 August, the Center for Federal Studies of the Addis Ababa University convened a seminar on the Sustainable Development Goals and Beyond: The 15 years Democratic and Developmental Role of Local Government in Ethiopia.
Jaap de Visser presented a comparative perspective on local government and cities in South Africa.  Central to his input was an assessment of the 2016 local government elections and in particular the impact of the change of government in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay. The elections are a turning point, he argued, and the outcome will test the ability of government to absorb the tension that will arise between levels of government.
The presentation was a useful addition to the conference, particularly given the current contestation in Ethiopia over the role of cities such as Addis Ababa in a multi-ethnic state.