USAID Southern Africa: Democracy, Rights & Governance


USAID’s primary development goal in South Africa is the country’s continued transformation into an equitable, effective, and exemplary nation.  In consultation with the South African Government, USAID promotes improved rule of law and respect for human rights throughout Southern Africa, and supports South Africa’s leadership in advancing stability in the region and addressing the critical human rights issue of gender-based violence.

The U.S. government has supported the South African constitution and justice system since 1994, during which time $70.6 million has been invested through governance programs in partnership with the South African Department of Treasury, and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.  This is only a small percentage of the more than $3.04 billion invested in South Africa by USAID on behalf of the American people.

The Government of South Africa believes that the true value of foreign development assistance is realized when it is able to provide solutions and tools that enable the country to use its own resources more effectively.  This is why USAID/South Africa’s strategy focuses development assistance on supporting the South African Government to address its critical needs, and its capability to spearhead new and more effective approaches for enhancing service delivery.

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USAID works with South African Government departments and local partners to address women’s rights and access to justice, and build the capacity of civil society groups and regional organizations to advocate for the protection of human rights.

Since 2012, through the South African Department of Justice, USAID has invested $12.5 million in the sexual offense courts, Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs), civil society organizations combatting gender-based violence, and the Public Protector of South Africa (PPSA).

USAID supported the TCC network, managed by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).  Located in public hospital facilities, the more than 50 centers nationwide provide a range of services from emergency medical care, post-exposure prophylaxis, counseling, and court preparation, to survivors of sexual assault.

USAID partners with the Department of Justice, the NPA, and the Office of the Chief Justice to pilot a new court management process and improve services for survivors of sexual assualt.

Support for the PPSA was designed in collaboration with the Department of Justice and GIZ, to ensure that systems are standardized and processes are institutionalized.  Assistance was designed to build the capacity of the PPSA to use its own resources more effectively as it faces the challenges associated with an increase in the number and complexity of complaints investigated by the office.

Recognizing the tremendous capacity that exists within South African institutions and civil society organizations, USAID works with prominent South Africans partners such as the University of South Africa, University of Cape Town, and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation to build the capacity of important democratic institutions in the region.

USAID also supports South African leadership to promote lasting development solutions in other developing countries.  Through an innovative government-to-government partnership, USAID enhances South Africa’s national capacities to deliver demand-driven technical assistance, exchange programs and capacity development through the National Treasury’s International Development Cooperation arm.

Trilateral Assistance Program (TAP) Government of South Africa 2009– 2017 $7 million Promotes peace, security and stability in the region through development of South Africa’s national capacities to provide targeted training, exchange programs and technical assistance to meet African development challenges.
Increasing Services for Survivors of Sexual Assault in South Africa Foundation for Professional Development, Soul City Institute, Sonke Gender Justice Network, South African medial Research Council 2012- 2017 $10.7 million Improves holistic services to survivors of sexual assault through Thuthuzela Care Centers across South Africa while expanding education for awareness, prevention and effective response.
Improving Case Outcomes for Gender-based Violence Pilot University of Cape Town/ Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit 2015-2018 $1.3 million Support South Africa’s sexual offense courts through the development of new court management process and the improvement of services for survivors of sexual assualt
Regional Victims of Torture Program Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2014-2017 $2.25 million Increases effective and holistic rehabilitation of torture victims in South Africa, while sharing clinical best practices and lessons learned  in the region.
Regional Elections Training Program University of South Africa 2011-2016 $4.6 million Provides capacity development for electoral officials and election management bodies to advance free, fair and transparent elections across Africa.
Regional Judicial Independence University of Cape Town/ Democracy, Govrenance and Rights Unit 2016-2018 $900,000 Enhance the regional capacity for judicial independence through basic skills training and  judge craft, improving  understanding of select human rights challenges, and access to resources to improve adjudication and help develop progressive jurisprudence.
Support to Public Protector of South Africa German Development Agency (GIZ) 2016-2019 $500,000 Strengthening the Public Protector through the development of standard practice manuals and training circiculum in investigation skills, anticorruption and fraud, alternative dispute resolution and report writing, and assistance with outreach activities to reach rural and marginalized people.