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Judith February

Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)

Judith February is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and affiliated to the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice. Prior to that, she was executive director of the HSRC’s Democracy and Governance unit and also head of the Idasa’s South African Governance programme for 12 years. She studied law at the University of Cape Town where she obtained her BA [Law] and her LLB degrees in 1991 and 1993 respectively. She was then admitted as an attorney in 1996 and practised law in Cape Town until 2000. In 2000 she obtained her LLM in Commercial Law also from the University of Cape Town.

Judith has worked extensively on issues of good governance, transparency and accountability within the South African context. She is particularly interested in law as a tool for advocacy and the intersection between law and politics.

Her areas of focus include corruption and its impact on governance, Parliamentary oversight, institutional design and general political analysis. Judith is a founder member of the Right to Know campaign, fighting the passage of the so-called ‘Secrecy Bill’.

She is also a regular commentator in the media on politics in SA and has been listed in the Financial Mail’s “Little Black Book” of 300 Black professionals for 2011. Judith was also listed in the Mtn/Mail and Guardian 100 women in South Africa, released in August 2010. She served on an ad hoc panel to evaluate the effectiveness of South Africa’s Parliament, chaired by Pregs Govender in 2009. In 2009 she was awarded a summer fellowship at the Freeman Spogli Institute for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, California. 

Her column, ‘Between the Lines’ appeared in the Cape Times newspaper, appeared fortnightly until 2014. Judith is a regular columnist for Media24 and also an occasional columnist for the Daily Maverick and other publications. She is the co-editor with Neeta Misra-Dexter of ‘Testing democracy: which way is South Africa going?’, March 2010, Idasa. Judith has taught a course on Contemporary South African politics within the Politics Department at the University of Cape Town and is an independent, non-executive director of Coronation Fund Managers. In 2012, she was awarded a Spring Reagan-Fascell Fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC where she was based until August 2012.

Judith is also the Chair of the Springfield Convent School Board of Governors.