About us

We are a non-profit organisation working for political change and grassroots democracy in South Africa. Our research supports open, transparent government and community engagement. We work with communities to improve development, service delivery, and political participation.

Our research and advocacy work includes public finance, elections, political reform, and spatial development. 


What We Do

The Third Republic is a political incubator for independent candidates and small parties. We assist political activists who want to compete in elections but don’t have the resources or skills of an established political party.

We support community development through our work in municipal planning and local economic development. Our research and advocacy focuses on political participation and the devolution of power

How do we do it?

Our experienced team and a growing network of partners provides research, training, and campaigning support.

We use technology and data analysis in all of our projects. There is geospatial analysis in our political research and community development work. We use data visualisation tools to make our research and advocacy more effective.

COVID-19 has sharply reduced political and community activity. We use social media and other communication technology to make political activity safer and cheaper.

Our Team

songezo zizi

Songezo Zibi

Songezo Zibi is a director at The Third Republic. He is a published author and former editor of Business Day. He serves in several non-profit companies. Since 2007 he has been a consistent and recognized voice for accountability, good governance, nation-building and the building of a dynamic, inclusive economy.

Paul Berkowitz

Paul Berkowitz

Paul Berkowitz is a director at The Third Republic. He is a writer, researcher, and data analyst. He is excited about the potential for technology to empower communities and revitalise our political landscape.

Sky Swales

Sky Swales

Sky Swales is a director at The Third Republic. Previously she worked as an advisor on tech law and policy, with a focus on digital rights. She is passionate about advancing participatory democracy and the rule of law


Buhle Mbokazi

Buhle Mbokazi is a researcher and writer at The Third Republic. She has worked as a data analyst and writer on local government and community development.


Yolanda Mpinana

Yolanda is a researcher, writer and social media manager at The Third Republic. She majored in economics and marketing, working at National Treasury before joining us. Yolanda leads our social media monitoring and networking.

Frequently asked questions

What is The Third Republic?

SA’s first republic started in 1961, its second in 1994. Both republics have failed to serve the people of South Africa. It is time to imagine a new republic.

Why do you support independents and small Parties?

Independents face many difficulties as the electoral system is skewed in favour of political parties. Communities need ward councillors whose first loyalty is to their communities and not to political parties. Community-based parties are also answerable to the people who vote for them.

I want to run as an independent candidate. Will The Third Republic support me?

We require the following:

  • You must be registered in Gauteng.
  • You must have a police clearance certificate.
  • We will interview you to assess whether or not to work with you.

What kind of candidate will you support?

We want to work with individuals who are committed to improving their communities. Candidates must be diligent and problem-solvers who also demonstrate a commitment to the law and Constitution. They may not have a history of xenophobia, populism, violence or a criminal record. A history of community work is advantageous but not essential. 

What if I or an organisation would like to nominate somebody who might be a suitable candidate?

The individual should be willing to run as an independent candidate and you should obtain their consent before nominating them. The standard application procedures will apply and we will interview the candidate before undertaking to work with them.

I represent a political party. would the third republic help us?

We might – it depends. We support small parties that are focused on a ward, an area, or a whole municipality. The party must have internal democratic structures and truly represent the people in the area it contests.