The South African Freedom Charter (1955) states that “The people shall govern” and the African
National Congress (ANC) (1991) stated in “Advance to national democracy” that “the immediate
issue on the agenda is the question of political power. To affect the transfer of power into the hands
of the people as a whole is the most crucial and immediate challenge facing the national democratic
movement.” The question now is how this power is currently exercised where the ANC is the government
and represents the people. Dennis Wrong stated that “politics includes both a struggle for power and a
struggle to limit, resist and escape from power”. This implies that power is reciprocal. In South African
local politics this mutuality of power relations presents different appearances.
This article explores whether local power is shifting from the liberation movement as government
to the people (considering for example protest politics) and as such whether the power of local
government and that of the citizens are necessarily oppositional; or whether the struggle for democracy
came full circle and that power is being democratised in a true sense by the people themselves as
“governors” of government.