In Southern Africa multi-party democracy has more popular support than any other form of governance. Yet democratic values and practices remain shallowly rooted, and progress toward open, transparent governance is slow. USAID strengthens the legitimacy and capacity of key governmental institutions and develops the capacity of civil society groups and regional organizations to promote democratic values and practices. USAID is building the competencies of electoral officials, civil society leaders, and political party representatives to support free, credible, and transparent elections in the region.
Effective judicial systems and a strong civil society provide balance to powerful executive branches. USAID supports a regional network of judges, lawyers, and activists who are effectively advocating for all persons in society. They facilitate rule of law and the protection of individual civil, political, economic, and social rights. Support to strengthen public financial management is another avenue by which USAID ensures civil society and legislative bodies can hold powerful executives accountable. USAID is also supporting the rehabilitation of victims of torture in South Africa through more effective and rigorous psychosocial services. Clinical evidence and best practices are shared across the region to put an end to torture in all its forms.
USAID works with the South African Government and citizens to strengthen their level of interaction in targeted communities and sectors. In doing so, USAID emphasizes complementary efforts in institutional capacity development, civic engagement, transparency and accountability, and social cohesion. Specifically, the portfolio includes financial support for a program that targets municipalities in two provinces to increase transparency and accountability around public financial management. Assistance is provided to civil society organizations and local government to strengthen engagement and participation in political processes as well as build social cohesion in areas facing increased xenophobic violence and other forms of conflict.
Given the high rates of gender-based violence in South Africa, USAID focuses on improving service delivery and support to survivors. The Democracy Rights and Governance (DRG) portfolio includes programs that facilitate coordination and collaboration between the South African government, communities, the private sector, and civil society organizations to ensure comprehensive support for Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors from clinical services to access to justice.