Usurping the Role of an Underperforming State: A Case of South Africa




usurp, role, underperformance, state, failed state, south africa


South Africa, like many African states after independence, has begun its downward spiral in several areas, including development, lawlessness, poverty, and poor service delivery. These are the primary hallmarks of an underperforming state. Some critics have begun viewing South Africa as a failing state or even a failed state. It is the authors’ conviction that the downward spiral can be arrested if there is a will and provided that appropriate interventions are implemented timeously. This article conceptualises a sovereign state, a failed state, and looks at the symptoms of a failing state, which seem to be creeping into South Africa. Furthermore, the article considers the burden put on citizens by a failing state as they must take over the responsibilities of the state as individuals and the collective. Most importantly, the paper makes recommendations that may be considered when trying to arrest the failure of the South African state in performing its crucial functions.

Author Biography

Valery Louw, University of South Africa

Department of Public Administration and Management


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How to Cite

Mello, David, and Valery Louw. 2023. “Usurping the Role of an Underperforming State: A Case of South Africa”. Politeia 42 (1):18 pages .



Received 2023-10-18
Accepted 2023-11-14
Published 2023-12-28