Call for contributions: South Africa at 30 Years of Democracy

South Africa at 30 years of democracy:

A conference focussing on what SA has achieved in the past 30 years, what must be done in the next 5 years, and where SA should be in 30 years time

Over its history, SALDRU has convened several inquiries into the state of the country, first commencing in the 1980s with the Second Carnegie Conference, then in 2012 with the conference “Towards Carnegie 3: Strategies to overcome poverty and inequality”. In 2024 we will be convening a new inquiry entitled: “South Africa at 30 Years of Democracy”. The conference will be held over September 4-6 at the University of Cape Town.

After a historical election result in 2024, our country now faces the prospect of unprecedented policy change. To recognise the importance of this emerging policy landscape, we are updating our conference structure to allow stakeholders to also suggest policy dialogs, invited paper suggestions on key themes, and additional thematic topics of relevance to the Government of National Unity (GNU).

The conference invites inputs from various stakeholders, including Government’s Executive arm, Government’s Legislative arm, academia, business, finance, labour, civil society, the international community and multilateral institutions.

Major themes for reflection, review, critique and conception looking ahead include:

  1. Public policy priorities for GNU partners.
  2. Political and bureaucratic administration, systems and practices across all spheres of government.
  3. Macro-economic policy: yesterday, today and tomorrow.
  4. Trade, industrial and competition policy, including entrepreneurship, the national system of innovation, and threats / opportunities from new technologies.
  5. Land, agriculture and food security.
  6. Education, health care and other structural and social investments for productive, functional communities.
  7. Formal and informal employment, social protection and public works.
  8. Financing sustainable economic development.
  9. Climate Change, the Just Energy Transition (JET), Green Mining, Green Energy, and task forcing the overall green economy.
  10. South Africa in the international arena – stances and influences in multilateral institutions and bilateral relationships.
  11. The history, nature, meaning, importance, impact, achievements and shortcomings of our Constitution in legal, philosophical, ethical, political, economic and social terms.

The broad objectives for each theme of the conference include:

  • Looking back: Where have we made progress and where have we faltered?
  • What are the major binding constraints and how do we overcome them in the next 5 years?
  • Blue Sky thinking: Where must South Africa be in 30 years’ time?

Contributions are invited from all stakeholders and can include opinion pieces, research abstracts, posters of research results, research papers, and thought leadership articles. We also invite stakeholders to suggest policy dialogs and invited paper suggestions on key themes.

The conference will be based at the University of Cape Town. It will be an in-person event, though presenters will be permitted to present online should they not be able to travel to Cape Town. Registration will be open in July and announced publicly on the SALDRU website. Please submit your contributions to by July 31, 2024. Accepted contributions will be notified by 10 August, 2024.

Should you have any questions about the conference, please email