Anthony Butler

Affiliate Scholar


Cape Town, South Africa



Butler is Professor of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town. His research has focused on the politics of public policy, with special reference to black economic empowerment, the resources sector, energy policy, public health, and state reform. He has also made contributions to the study of South African politics, with books and edited collections on the politics of the ANC, party modernisation, and party funding.

One unifying theme is the relationship between money and politics in middle income countries, with a special focus on political finance, clientelism, and resource theories of party dominance.

Recent publications include Contemporary South Africa 3rd edition (New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and the biography Cyril Ramaphosa: The Road to Presidential Power, 3rd edition (Oxford, James Currey, and Auckland Park, Jacana). Butler is a regular columnist for Johannesburg’s Business Day newspaper.

    • Butler, Anthony, 2019, Cyril Ramaphosa: The Road to Presidential Power, 3rd edition (Oxford, James Currey, and Auckland Park, Jacana).
    • Butler, Anthony, 2017, Contemporary South Africa, 3rd edition (New York, Palgrave Macmillan) ISBN 978-1-137-37336-6.
    Opinion Articles
    • Butler, Anthony, Why we should pay attention to Sisulu’s ambitions, Business Day, 13 January
    • Butler, Anthony, If only Telkom rebound could pave way for ailing SOEs, Business Day, 28 January
    • Butler, Anthony, Politicians, take note: It’s the SOEs, stupid, Business Day, 10 February
    • Butler, Anthony, SACP romance with Russia blind to its colonial project, Business Day, 24 February
    • Butler, Anthony, An incoherent welfare state focused on the next ANC conference, Business Day, 10 March
    • Butler, Anthony, Two different ideas in their heads as SA intellectuals reflect on Ukraine war, Business Day, 17 March
    • Butler, Anthony, Autocracies, unlike democracies, cannot correct leaders’ errors, Business Day, 7 April
    • Butler, Anthony, Cyril Ramaphosa’s compacts damage the social fabric, Business Day, 21 April
    • Butler, Anthony, Swarm of ageing ANC women points to Didiza to deputise, Business Day, 19 May
    • Butler, Anthony, If the grid collapses, SA is a few meals away from chaos, Business Day, 30 June
    • Butler, Anthony, Reflections on Watergate scandal 50 years on, Business Day, 16 June
    • Butler, Anthony, Deep in the ANC’s slo-mo matrix, Mantashe dodges bullets, Business Day, 2 June
    • Butler, Anthony, Advocates of electoral change want to cross out the people’s choices, Business Day, 14 July
    • Butler, Anthony, Big changes coming for offshoot of British colonialism, Business Day, 28 July
    • Butler, Anthony, Independents could bring out the worst in politics, Business Day, 11 August
    • Butler, Anthony, Labour and hospitals do not come in heaps and lumps, Business Day, 25 August
    • Butler, Anthony, Mbeki belongs in a council of elders, but after reflecting on his presidency, Business Day, 8 September
    • Butler, Anthony, Expressions of support for Cyril Ramaphosa may or may not herald a second term, Business Day, 22 September
    • Butler, Anthony, Watch the politics behind the eccentricities of state visits, Business Day, 6 October
    • Butler, Anthony, Slate politics still rules, throwing a lifeline to Ramaphosa’s reform projects, Business Day, 17 October
    • Butler, Anthony, The ABC slate spells disaster for SA, Business Day, 20 October
    • Butler, Anthony, SOEs are like alcoholics who can’t settle for one free drink, Business Day, 3 November
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