Assessing the conditions and ingridients of political clientelism within the South African context

Keywords: clientelism, politicians, citizens, government, voters and inequalities


The study examines the conditions, associated with political clientelism, as well as the ingredients of clientelism within the South African context. The study brings the understanding about the relationship between politicians who go out on a periodic basis to canvass for votes and then not much happens in the lives of ordinary people. Despite this, a large number of the same politicians is re-elected to another five-year term. The broad argument in this study is that there seems to be an observable patronage type of relationship between elected parties (politicians) and citizens, and that no matter what service delivery challenges citizens confront (coupled with violent protest in some cases), voting patterns do not change much come election time. The study adopted a conceptual approach, relying on secondary data. Clientelism refers to the relationship that exists between citizens/voters (clients) and politicians (patrons) who make electoral promises in order to gain office. The first section describes what clientelism entails, followed by a discussion of clientelism’s relevance to the present study. Then, anecdotal evidence from the research site will be examined to demonstrate some elements of clientelism, as well as its significance and utility in examining service delivery challenges in local government. Following that, essential components of democratic states will be explored because they have an impact on available research evidence, showing clientelistic elements are prevalent in democracies around the world. The chapter's closing will shed some light on how leadership will be approached in this study, which stems from the fact that leadership is a key concept in this research and is implied in clientelism


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Author Biography

Mocheudi Martinus Selepe, University of Limpopo

Department of Public Administration


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How to Cite
Masemola, N. D., & Selepe, M. M. (2022). Assessing the conditions and ingridients of political clientelism within the South African context. EUREKA: Social and Humanities, (4), 91-102.
Social Sciences