Public trust and good governance : a comparative study of Brazil and South Africa

Pillay, Pregala (2017)

CITATION: Pillay, P. 2017. Public trust and good governance : a comparative study of Brazil and South Africa. African Journal of Public Affairs, 9(8):31-47.

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The exploration of public trust towards a democratic government has taken different forms throughout history because it is a multi-dimensional and complicated process determined by actions, inactions, political, social and economic processes and societal power relationships. It is widely accepted that good governance, in turn, is a crucial element in the process of building citizens’ trust in government. This implies that unethical, corrupt actions negatively affect citizens’ trust, which is one of the reasons the relationship between social trust and governance has been a focal point of the academic and policy-making communities. The present case studies are based on primary and secondary qualitative research and deal with concerns such as those in South Africa and Brazil. They seek to explore the causal relationship between good governance and citizens’ trust and the effect of corrupt actions. Citizens’ trust takes different forms that fluctuate from the ‘general’ to the ‘particular/specific’ and such realities have different effects on governance as well as the shaping of public policy, attitudes and political imperatives. In both of the aforementioned countries, issues of political, economic and social transformation and development are societal imperatives. Empirical studies on such relations of trust and good governance can pave the way forward in re-evaluating the differences, similarities and forms of the struggle against corruption.

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