Institute for a Democratic South Africa

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Institute for a Democratic South Africa (IDASA) "is an independent public interest organisation committed to promoting sustainable democracy based on active citizenship, democratic institutions, and social justice." [1]

"IDASA was started in 1987 by van Zyl Slabbert former leader of the opposition and Alex Boraine, former Progressive Federal Party MP. What these CSOs (civil society organisations) have done is to put procedural democracy high up on the agenda for civil society, and for the nation, and to establish the terms of the debate. This is not surprising given the resources allocated to them by the international donor community. IDASA has received grants not simply of tens of thousands of dollars, but of $1 million. In 1996 it received $1.165 million from the Ford Foundation. This is an exceptionally large grant by the Foundation’s standards, which (827) normally provides grants from $200 000 to $50 000 to CSOs in Africa, and is by far the largest grant to any grantee in South Africa. At the same time IDASA received a $1 million grant from USAID for a two-year period. The South African Institute of Race Relations and the Institute for Multi-Party Democracy received similar grants from USAID over the same period." (Hearn, 2000, p.827-8)

Member of the Africa Democracy Forum.


Donors listed on their website are:


Accessed April 2010:

Board Members

Council Members

Executive staff

  • Mr Paul Graham - Executive Director; Idasa; Pretoria
  • Mr Ivor Jenkins - Kutlwanong Democracy Centre manager; Idasa; Pretoria
  • Mr Vincent Williams -Cape Town Democracy Centre manager; Idasa; Cape Town

Non-Executive Board Chair - Professor Njabulo Ndebele -Cape Town

Board Members

Friends of Idasa US Board

Accessed April 2010:

Related SourceWatch Resources



External links

  • Julie Hearn, "Aiding democracy? Donors and civil society in South Africa", Third World Quarterly, Volume 21, Number 5 / October 1, 2000.
  • Ian Taylor , "South Africa's transition to democracy and the 'change industry': a case study of IDASA", Politikon, 29(1): 2002, pp.31—48.