The Department of Political Science is a dynamic, research-driven unit with a focus on the political challenges which South Africa and the broader African continent must face in a globalising world. Through comprehensive research programmes, the department has developed expertise in a wide spectrum of international, African and domestic politics. Pressing issues such as poverty, development, globalisation and inequality are addressed at the under- and postgraduate levels. The department provides high-level theoretical and analytical training in a variety of subfields of Political Science, with particular focus on political risk analysis, public policy analysis, political behaviour and survey research, foreign policy analysis, global governance, and conflict and peace studies in Africa. Experts from practice and international universities are frequently involved in the presentation of modules.

 Our department has been ranked the highest on the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) list of political science departments in South Africa




 Dr Derica Lambrechts and Dr Ubanesia Adams-Jack host a short course that focuses on policy analysis and political risk analysis. Recently, we were approached by an Africa-focused strategic advisory firm with offices across the continent, to tailor the short course for their staff. The course is presented over the duration of four weeks.




Scarlett Cornelissen is a recipient of the 2021 Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation. The Commendations are awarded by the Japanese government to individuals and groups with “outstanding achievements in international fields” in acknowledgement of their contribution to international relations. Scarlett received the award for “the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the Republic of South Africa.”

For more details see

 Dr Guy Lamb was recently quoted in the Washington Post



 Prof Scarlett Cornelissen took part in a Workshop organised by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies in Milan


Pathways to Recovery in Post-Pandemic Asia


The Department in the Media

The looting of businesses, shopping centres and warehouses in South Africa over the past week, particularly in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, has taken place at an unprecedented scale. It has affected both poor and middle-class areas. Private as well as government property has been damaged and destroyed. People have been injured and lives have been lost.


Guy Lamb is a criminologist in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University. 

A proposed amendment to the Firearms Control Act has some gun owners hot under the collar. But a balanced conversation about the benefits and hazards of gun ownership for all South Africans is required in the absence of conclusive and authoritative studies on whether guns ensure their owners’ safety.


Guy Lamb is a criminologist in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University. He previously directed the Safety and Violence Initiative at the University of Cape Town.

In order to determine if alcohol plays a role in crime spikes, it needs to be determined where violent crime is concentrated, as well as consider other possible factors that my have contributed to such variations in crime in these precincts, writes Guy Lamb


In July 2020, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele released the quarterly crime statistics for the period 1 April – 30 June 2020 which corresponded with much of the “hard” Covid-19 lockdown phase in South Africa.

The shooting of alleged Durban drug lord Yaganathan “Teddy Mafia” Pillay led to an unimaginably barbaric scene when gangsterism and mob justice collided in a community beset by poverty and drug addiction. The people of Shallcross have been caught in a violent drug turf war that’s claimed seven lives in drive-by shootings in just 13 months. In a community where drug lords are said to enjoy the protection of the community and alleged crooked cops, Carte Blanche explores the driving forces that ended in blood on the streets as police appeared ineffective.

Given government’s slow response to rolling out a Covid vaccine response, it appears that 2021 will be similar to 2020, with police officials having to continue to enforce various forms of lockdown regulations in response to successive waves of heightened Covid-19 infections, writes Guy Lamb.

Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear’s murder has re-emphasised the problem of SAPS corruption, especially in realation to firearms. writes Guy Lamb.

International oil and gas companies face increased political risk because of cyber-attacks and they will need to change the way they approach risk management to minimize the impact of cyber-threats.

The political elite are happy to access power through democratic elections, but are averse to institutional checks once in power.

As Covid-19 continues to reshape our world, including global political and economic dynamics, what tensions and contradictions are likely to appear over the next five to 10 years at the national level in South Africa?

According to the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released by ShanghaiRanking, the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University is the top ranked in South Africa.