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Richard Calland


Richard Calland has for over twenty years been working in the fields of democratic governance and sustainable development in South Africa and beyond. Based at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he is Associate Professor in Public Law, he built and led its Democratic Governance & Rights Unit from 2007-2016. Calland specializes in freedom of information law and serves as a member of the Independent Access to Information Appeals Board of the World Bank. In the past, he has advised the governments of Mali, Peru, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Jamaica on transparency law reform and policy, and the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) on matters of governance and multi-stakeholder process. In 2015, he was retained by the US Securities Exchange Commission as an expert witness in its prosecution of Hitachi under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Before moving to South Africa in 1994, Calland practiced law for seven years at the London Bar. From 1995-2011 (called in 1987 to Lincoln's Inn), he headed the Political Information & Monitoring Service and then the Economic Governance programme at Idasa – which was at that time Africa's leading democracy Institute. He is a founding member of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) and with others he also founded the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), a law centre that supports the implementation of freedom of information law and advises whistleblowers, which he served as its first Executive Director from 2001-2010. Calland is a Fellow of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and has been a member of faculty on a series of strategic leadership programmes for, amongst others, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, PWC, Nedbank, Namdeb, Network Rail and Tata. He is also the co-director of the niche organisation, the African Climate Finance Hub, supporting governments and multilateral organisations in Africa on issues relating to access and use of climate finance. He is a retained adviser on governance and politics to Massmart/Walmart and regularly gives political risk analysis to the clients of investment banks such as UBS and Citi, and is a founding partner of The Paternoster Group: African Political Insight. In 2005, he spent two terms at Cambridge University, as a visiting scholar at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. In 2006, he spent a month as a visiting lecturer in constitutional law at the Faculty of Law at Meiji University, Tokyo. He holds an LLM from the University of Cape Town, a Diploma in World Politics from the London School of Economics and a BA(Hons) Law from the University of Durham. He is a regular commentator in the media and his political column has been carried in the Mail & Guardian newspaper since 2001. Author of Anatomy of South Africa (2006) and The Zuma Years (2013), Calland's latest book on politics, Make or Break: How the next three years will shape South Africa’s next three decades, was published in September 2016 by Penguin Random House.  

Select Publications:

  • The South African Case, in Norris, P. & Abel, A. (eds), Checkbook Elections? Political Finance in Comparative Perspective, Forthcoming, 2017.
  • Make or Break: How the next three years will shape South Africa’s next three decades. PenguinRandomHouse. September 2016.
  • Guarding the Guardians: South Africa’s Chapter Nine Institutions, with PIenaar, G. in State of the Nation 2016: Who is in Charge? HSRC. 2016.
  • The South African Case, in Norris, P. & Abel, A. (eds), Checkbook Elections? Political Finance in Comparative Perspective, Forthcoming, 2016.
  • Institutional Renaissance or Populist Fandango? The Impact of the Economic Freedom Fighters on South Africa’s Parliament, with Seedat, S. in VRUe/Law and Politics in Africa, Asia, Latin America. Humboldt University, Berlin: January 2016.
  • Mitigating climate change: State of the carbon nation, in Meyiwa T., Nkondo M., Chitiga-Mabugu M., Sithole M., Nyamnjoh T. (eds), State of the Nation 2014. HSRC. 2014.
  • Exploring the Liberal Genealogy and the Changing Praxis of the Right of Access to Information: Towards an Egalitarian Realisation in Theoria, Volume 61, Number 140, September 2014.
  • Access to Information: A Theory of Change in Practice, with Bentley K. in Langford, M, Cousins, B, Dugard, J and Madlingozi, T (eds) Strategies for Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa: Symbols or Substances. Cambridge University Press. 2014. 
  • The Zuma Years: South Africa’s Changing Face of Power. Zebra Press. August 2013.
  • Global Climate Finance, Accountable Public Policy: Addressing The Multi-Dimensional Transparency Challenge. With Jonason P. Georgetown Public Policy Review. May 2013.
  • The Right Of Access To Information: The State Of The Art And The Emerging Theory Of Change Introduction in Calland R. & Diallo F. (eds). Access to Information in Africa: Law, Culture and Practice. Brill Publishing. 2013.
  • Things Fall Apart; The Centre Cannot Hold, in Bentley K. Calland R. & Nathan L, (eds). Falls the Shadow: The Gap between the Promise of the South African Constitution & the Reality. UCT Press, 2013.
  • Private Sector Participation in Low Carbon Infrastructure: A Case Study of South Africa. OECD, 2013.
  • Country Readiness for Climate Finance in Southern Africa: Insights and Framework. GIZ. 2013.
  • Financing low-carbon energy for low-income housing. OECD Study Paper. 2012.
  • The Impact and Effectiveness of Accountability and Transparency Initiatives, with Bentley K. Development Policy Review, Special issue on Freedom of Information. ODI. 2013.
  • Calland R. and Hawkins, J. 2012. The Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST): promoting public accountability through multi-stakeholder Collective Action, in Pieth M. (ed). Collective Action: Innovative Strategies to Prevent Corruption. Basel Institute for Governance: Basle.
  • Towards a Framework for National Climate Finance Governance in Africa. With Reddy, K. HBF, 2012.
  • Calland R. & Nakhooda S. Participatory democracy meets the hard rock of energy policy: South Africa’s National Integrated Resource Plan, in Burnell P. & Mittag J. Volume 19, No. 5 (October 2012) of Democratisation. Academic Journal published by Heinrich Boll Foundation. 2012.
  • Dubosse N. & Calland R. Beyond the Jargon: The Governance of Climate Finance. Idasa: November 2011.
  • “The Construction Sector Transparency Initiative Global Program: Institutional Options for the Future International Governance of the Initiative”. Working Paper - World Bank, July 2011.
  • Machiavelli meets the Constitution: Mbeki and the Law, with Oxtoby, C. in Glaser D. (ed). Mbeki and After: Reflections on the legacy of Thabo Mbeki. Wits University Press. 2011.
  • Calland R. & Jonason P. New horizons, urgent imperatives: transparency & climate finance. Rutgers University 1st global conference on transparency research, 2011
  • Standard Setting at the Cutting Edge: An evidence-based Typology for multi-stakeholder initiatives, in Non-State Actors as Standard Setters, Cambridge University Press: 2009, with Koechlin, L.
  • Illuminating the Politics and Practice of Access to Information in South Africa, in Paper Wars, Wits University Press: 2009.
  • Making the Law Work: The Challenges of Implementation. With Laura Neuman, in The Right to Know: Transparency for an Open World. Institute of Public Dialogue at the University of Columbia; Columbia University Press. May 2007.
  • The Right to Know, The Right to Live: Access to Information & Socio-economic Justice. Co-editor (with Alison Tilley). Open Democracy Advice Centre. October 2002.
  • Democracy in the Time of Mbeki: Idasa’s Democracy Index. Co-editor (with Paul Graham). IDASA. Forthcoming April 2005.
  • Whistleblowing Around the World: Law, Culture & Practice. Co-editor (with Guy Dehn). Open Democracy Advice Centre & Public Concern at Work. April 2004.
  • Thabo Mbeki’s World: The Politics & Ideology of the South African President. Joint Co-editor (with Sean Jacobs). University of Natal Press/Zed Books. September 2002.
  • Real Politics: The Wicked Issues with Sean Jacobs and Greg Power. British Council: December 2001.
  • The First Five Years: A Review of South Africa’s First Democratic Parliament. Editor. IDASA: September 1999.
  • All Dressed up with no-where to go? The Rapid Transformation of the South African Parliamentary Committee System in The Changing role of parliamentary committees. Longley, L. & Agh, A. (eds). Wisconsin: Lawrence University. Research Committee of Legislative Specialists, International Political Science Association, and Governance in Southern Africa, occasional paper No. 5, 1997, School of Government, University of Western Cape.