State Civil Society Relations in South Africa: Some Lessons from Engagement

“This paper aims to provide examples of how specific civil society organisations have
influenced and engaged the state, and what lies behind the success or failure of these
actions.It looks at a range of organisations that have tried to impact government and its
policies post 1994. It begins with a conceptual discussion of the term civil society, which leads to a brief history of transformation in civil society relations with the state since 1990. Then the
different options available to civil society to influence the state are examined, followed by examples of how organisations are using these options. Lastly, the paper briefly dissects the issue of social capital and the role community-based organisations can play in development at local level.”