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South Africans have been poorly served by the economic choices their governments have made.
The consequences of these choices are everywhere to be seen but most importantly in unemployment and poverty. In this book Brian Kantor advances spirited economic arguments for freer markets and less government intervention and regulation of the South African economy; the book will add significantly to a layman’s understanding of how our economy works. It offers a succinct review of all the key drivers that determine a modern economy’s performance as well as the key institutions of a modern economy.
The book presents an insightful review of the challenges facing the South African economy and its policy makers.
Systematically since 1994 the ANC government has betrayed the dream of democracy. A dream that imagined equality, the end of poverty, a thriving economy, and a just and prosperous future for all. Most devastatingly this betrayal can be seen in the failure of educational institutions to develop the talents and skills of the young generations. Given the ‘Fallist’ protests, given the public service delivery protests, given the voters’ message to the ANC in the municipal elections, ordinary people are suffering. Poverty still wears a black face. White racism becomes ever more strident.
The country needs to hope again.
In this searing critique of what’s gone wrong in the public and private sectors, Mamphela Ramphele turns to the tenets of black consciousness and argues for an ‘emotional settlement’ to heal the trauma of colonialism and apartheid that still ravages both black and white communities. Emotional settlement would unlock empathy for others and unleash the potential of all citizens to work together for a ‘socio-economic settlement’ to promote social justice and equality for all. ‘It is time,’ she says, ‘to reimagine the country and its future. We owe this to our children’s children. We dare not fail.’
South Africa’s democracy is in trouble. The present situation is, in objective terms, a house divided; a house that is tottering on rotten foundations. Despite the more general advances that have been made under the ANC’s rule since 1994, power has not only remained in the hands of a small minority but has increasingly been exercised in service to capital. The ANC has become the key political vehicle – in party and state form as well as application – of corporate capital: domestic and international, black and white, local and national, and constitutive of a range of different fractions. As a result, ‘transformation’ has largely taken the form of acceptance of, combined with incorporation into, the capitalist ‘house’, now minus its formal apartheid frame.
What has happened in South Africa over the last 22 years is the corporatisation of liberation, the political and economic commodification of the ANC and societal development. Those in positions of leadership and power within the ANC have allowed themselves to be lured by the siren calls of power and money, to be sucked in by the prize of ‘capturing’ institutional sites of power, to be seduced by the egoism and lifestyles of the capitalist elite.
This book tells that ‘story’ by offering a critical, fact-based and actively informed holistic analysis of the ANC in power, as a means to: better explain and understand the ANC and its politics as well as South Africa’s post-1994 trajectory; contribute to renewed discussion and debate about power and democracy; and help identify possible sign-posts to reclaim revolutionary, universalist and humanist values as part of the individual and collective struggle for the systemic change South Africa’s democracy needs.
Unless there is significant change, the world is heading for an explosion. The growing gap between rich and poor is dangerous and unsustainable. The plundering of resources is damaging our planet. Something has to be done.
In this book, Jay Naidoo harnesses his experience as a labour union organiser, government minister, social entrepreneur and global thought leader, and explores ways of solving some of the world’s biggest problems. Drawing from his experiences in South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh and other countries, he presents a variety of options for ending poverty and global warming, with a focus on organising in our communities and building change from below and beyond borders.
Naidoo’s message is unequivocal: significant action must be taken immediately if we want future generations to live in a world that we take for granted today.
Sub-Saharan Africa faces three big challenges over the next generation. It will double its population to two billion by 2045. By then more than half of Africans will be living in cities. And this group of mostly young people will be connected through mobile devices.
Properly harnessed and planned for, these are positive forces for change. Without economic growth and jobs, they could prove a political and social catastrophe. Old systems of patronage and muddling through will no longer work.
Making Africa Work is a practical account of how to ensure growth beyond commodities, and to create jobs. It’s a handbook for dynamic leadership inside and outside the continent.
The story of a ‘rogue unit’ operating within the South African Revenue Service (SARS) became entrenched in the public mind following a succession of sensational reports published by the Sunday Times in 2014. The unit, the reports claimed, had carried out a series of illegal spook operations: they had spied on President Jacob Zuma, run a brothel, illegally bought spyware and entered into unlawful tax settlements.
In a plot of Machiavellian proportions, head of the elite crime-busting unit Johann van Loggerenberg and many of SARS’s top management were forced to resign. Van Loggerenberg’s select team of investigators, with their impeccable track record of busting high-level financial fraudsters and nailing tax criminals, lost not only their careers but also their reputations. Now, in this extraordinary account, they finally get to put the record straight and the rumours to rest: there was no ‘rogue unit’. The public had been deceived, seemingly by powers conspiring to capture SARS for their own ends.
Shooting down the allegations he has faced one by one, Van Loggerenberg tells the story of what really happened inside SARS, revealing details of some of the unit’s actual investigations.
Africa's leading producer of electricity, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, is also a vertically integrated monopoly, owned by the South African state. This national champion was shaken in 2008, when it was obliged to introduce 'load shedding', or rolling blackouts, and again in late 2014. Trying to understand how and why one of the iconic pillars of South African state capitalism is now in distress, the authors of this book argue that the so-called electricity crisis is in fact a public monopoly crisis.
Moving beyond technical aspects, they explore the relationship between state power and Eskom before, during and after apartheid. From this perspective, they suggest that the current technical and financial troubles of this public utility are illustrative of the weakening of its technopolitical regime, of how national institutions have governed Eskom's technological development, and of the pursuit of political goals in the production of electrical power. Without a clear industrial strategy during the 2000s, Eskom became a powerful tool of Broad-Black Economic Empowerment as well as a neopatrimonial system which generates profits captured by the ruling party. As a result, crisis in Eskom shakes the whole political edifice. Inefficient and its finances increasingly under scrutiny, this state-owned enterprise's existence as a monopolistic public utility is regularly a subject of debate.
The authors discuss the ambivalent role of Eskom in the national energy transition policy and whether solutions point in the direction of de-integrating this public monopoly and allowing its current technopolitical regime to enter a planned or natural decline.
If you have an interest in law and politics, South Africa’s political economy and the processes of policy-making in a parliamentary context, this is an essential read.
The advancement of black South Africans in ownership and management in the private sector is growing steadily. This growth is aided by government scorecard that penalise corporations that fail to include black people in senior positions and management. Some claim that this process will lead to a more fair, less racially biased economy. But will this transform the basic structure of the economy to benefit the people as a whole? Changing The Colour Of Capital unpacks the fundamental character of the South African economy and examines the relationship between the political system and the economy.
Contributors include Trevor Manuel, Rob Davies, Jeremy Cronin, Ben Turok, Philisiwe Buthelezi, Adekeye Adebajo, Enver Daniels, Cassius Lubisi and Richard Levin.
South Africa is undeniably a continental powerhouse.
Local corporates like MTN, Standard Bank and Shoprite are African business giants; South Africa is the only African member of BRICS; and a South African heads the African Union Commission. Yet the country is often perceived by other African states as a bully that punches above its weight. Does South Africa have the moral standing, and economic and military capacity to call itself a superpower?
In twenty years of reporting on Africa, Liesl Louw-Vaudran has travelled with South African heads of state and met business leaders from across Africa. In this book, she tries to answer accusations that South Africa behaves like a neocolonial power by examining key events – from Thabo Mbeki’s reforms of the African Union to the disastrous peace-keeping mission in the Central African Republic in 2013 under President Jacob Zuma.
South Africa’s social landscape is disfigured by poverty, inequality and mass unemployment. Poverty in South Africa: Past and Present argues that it is impossible to think coherently or constructively about poverty, and the challenge it poses, without a clear understanding of its origins, its long-term development, and it’s changing character over time. This historical overview seeks to show how poverty in the past has shaped poverty in the present. Colin Bundy traces the lasting scars left on the face of South African poverty by colonial dispossession, coerced labour and segregation; and by a capitalist system distinctive for its reliance on cheap, right-less black labour. While the exclusion of the poor occurs in very many countries, in South Africa it has a distinctive extra dimension. Here, poverty has been profoundly racialised by law, by social practice, and by prejudice. He shows that the ‘solution’ to the ‘poor white question’ in the 1920s and ’30s had profound and lasting implications for black poverty. After an analysis of urban and rural poverty prior to 1948, he describes the impact of apartheid policies and social engineering on poverty. Over four decades, apartheid reshaped the geography and demography of poverty. This pocket history concludes with two chapters that assess the policies and thinking of the ANC government in its responses to poverty. One describes the remarkable story of the social security programme developed by the ANC in government since 1994, and finds that cash transfers – pensions and grants – have been the most effective mechanism of redistribution used by the ANC, even though the party remains edgy and anxious about a ‘culture of entitlement’. A final chapter reviews the distribution and dimensions of contemporary poverty, inequality and unemployment, and considers available policy options – and their shortcomings.
Is South Africa going to make it? Are we going to become a shining example of a modern society, a proud member of the world's leading countries? Are we going to be OK? Are we already OK? Or are our worst fears going to become reality? That despite being geographically and culturally one of the most amazing countries in the world, we're going one way, straight down, all the way? Are we becoming a failed state?
That's the question South Africans ask themselves now and then. And that's the question J.P. Landman would like to answer in this book. He wants to answer the question simply but compellingly. He doesn't want his answer to be a thumb-suck or a knee-jerk reaction. Nor does he want to be an optimist or a pessimist. He wants to be a realist. As an economist, that's what he am. He lets the facts speak. He would like to give you long-term, good, solid facts. An informed view. He calls it the Long view.
He bases it on the stuff that transcends the daily drama we see on TV and in the newspapers. It's information that you can hold on to. Something that gives you a proper understanding of the realities of South Africa. Next time you're standing around a braai or sitting around a dinner table and some okie starts gaaning aan about the latest drama, you don't need to go into a tailspin yourself. Give him five facts. Then carry on making the most of your meal. And this country.
Herman Mashaba is a self-made entrepreneur who started his business Black Like Me in the dark days of apartheid in South Africa. He has told the story of his journey from the poverty of Hammanskraal to the comfort of a successful business in his book Black Like You.
When Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s president in 1994, Mashaba thought his struggle for personal and economic freedom was over, the battle was won. Twenty-one years later, he has had to question that assumption as his hard won freedoms are eroded and economic controls tighten. Mashaba is committed to freeing South Africans from poverty.
In this book Mashaba outlines his crusade for economic freedom for all South Africans – through a firm commitment to capitalist principles. He describes the changes in his political affiliations and maps out the route South Africa needs to follow to escape entrenched unemployment and poverty.
Elite Transition is a seminal accounting of compromises and struggles in post-apartheid South Africa. Combining original documentation, insider anecdotes and theoretical insights, Patrick Bond dissects a range of socio-economic continuities from old to new South Africa. He deploys political-economic analysis and draws upon case studies including social contracts, black economic empowerment, housing, the Reconstruction and Development Programme, World Bank and international financial influence, and corporate power. The original edition of Elite Transition provided an insightful review of South Africa's first years of democracy and an optimistic account of the potential that still exists for a progressive, grassroots resurgence of the liberation spirit. This updated edition includes a lengthy Afterword that maintains a scorching critique of elitist politics and economics. Most importantly, the book provides context for the upsurge in popular protest against the government's neoliberal policies since 2000.
The overwhelming challenge that South Africa faces, and has to date failed to address, is unemployment, which falls especially on African youths who were promised a better future after 1994. If the unemployment challenge is not addressed, it will be impossible to sustainably lift many millions of people out of poverty.
How South Africa Works reviews the country’s major economic achievements over the past two decades. Through numerous interviews with politicians, business leaders and analysts, it examines the challenges and opportunities across key productive sectors – including agriculture, manufacturing, services and mining – illustrative of the policy challenges that leaders face. It scrutinises the social grant and education systems to understand if South Africa has established mechanisms for people not only to escape destitution but be ready to be employed, and identifies steps that some of South Africa’s most notable entrepreneurs have taken to build world-class enterprises.
Recognising the essential challenge to cultivate more employers to employ people, How South Africa Works concludes by offering an agenda and active steps for greater competitiveness for government, business and labour.
Capitalism’s addiction to fossil fuels is heating our planet at a pace and scale never before experienced.
Extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and accelerating feedback loops are a commonplace feature of our lives. The number of environmental refugees is increasing and several island states and low-lying countries are becoming vulnerable. Corporate-induced climate change has set us on an ecocidal path of species extinction. Governments and their international platforms such as the Paris Climate Agreement deliver too little, too late. Most states, including South Africa, continue on their carbon-intensive energy paths, with devastating results. Political leaders across the world are failing to provide systemic solutions to the climate crisis. This is the context in which we must ask ourselves: how can people and class agency change this destructive course of history?
The Climate Crisis investigates ecosocialist alternatives that are emerging. It presents the thinking of leading climate justice activists, campaigners and social movements advancing systemic alternatives and developing bottom-up, just transitions to sustain life. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical work, the authors collectively examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current moment.
Most importantly, it explores ways to renew historical socialism with democratic, ecosocialist alternatives to meet current challenges in South Africa and the world.
Recession, inflation, interest rates, income tax, exchange rates… We are bombarded with these terms every day – by newspapers, the radio, TV and the internet – but what do they actually mean? And how do they impact on you?
In this updated edition of Everyone's Guide To The South African Economy, all these issues – and more – are addressed. The book clearly explains and evaluates a wide range of economic occurrences – from the budget and the rand/dollar exchange rate to the balance of payments and the role of the South African Reserve Bank. The book also investigates the causes and consequences of the 2008/2009 global financial and economic crisis, looks at the sub-Saharan African economy, and explores human development issues in South Africa and their implications for policy-making.
If you are baffled by the specialised jargon of economists and bankers and want to know more about the economic forces that subtly dictate your day-to-day existence, Everyone's Guide To The South African Economy will put you in the picture. This is essential reading for every South African consumer and taxpayer. Economics, after all, is too important to be left to economists.
Few countries in transition have managed to get a grip on public finances as well as SA after 1994. Now the nation’s credibility and democratic project lies in tatters as we teeter on the brink of a political and fiscal cliff.
Business confidence has evaporated, causing SA to be downgraded to junk status, crushing growth potential and pushing us towards a debt trap. How did we land in this mess, and can we pull back from the brink?
Award-winning journalist Claire Bisseker unpacks the crisis.
Mbeki’s vision of an African Renaissance was a mammoth undertaking. At the centre of this was the determination that the continent needed to demonstrate that Africa’s challenges could, and indeed would, be solved by Africans themselves. South Africa’s Foreign Policy choices were not so easily discernible, however.
There were several hot topics pertaining to South African foreign policy at this time: Zimbabwe, South Africa’s role in the UN Security Council, and the way in which South Africa positioned itself on the continent. The brinkmanship between Mbeki and Mugabe to find a lasting solution to the difficulties in Zimbabwe was easier said than done during the mediation process. A newly democratic South Africa was also elected as a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council; however, an unreformed United Nations system presented numerous complexities in this regard, especially in the realm of the often obvious and logical rhetoric by the five permanent members. Furthermore, a globalised world also meant that trade relations are not obvious and straightforward when negotiating a massive trade deal with the European Union and its implications for the immediate region of SADC. The intricacies of Foreign Policy meanderings and game theory are all but certain when you are dealing with sophisticated objectives and your own national interests as a country.
This book attempts to navigate these complexities and illustrate the difficulties that bureaucrats have to contend with while satisfying the clear objectives of advancing the ‘National Interest’ of the Republic, sometimes at great cost.
Millions of black South African workers struggled against apartheid to redeem employment and production from a history of abuse, insecurity, and racial despotism. Almost two decades later, however, the prospects of a dignified life of wage-earning work remain unattainable for most South Africans. Through extensive archival and ethnographic research, Franco Barchiesi documents and interrogates this important dilemma in the country's democratic transition: economic participation has gained centrality in the government's definition of virtuous citizenship, and yet for most workers, employment remains an elusive and insecure experience. In a context of market liberalization and persistent social and racial inequalities, as jobs in South Africa become increasingly flexible, fragmented, and unprotected, they depart from the promise of work with dignity and citizenship rights that once inspired opposition to apartheid. Barchiesi traces how the employment crisis and the responses of workers to it challenge the state's normative imagination of work, and raise decisive questions for the social foundations and prospects of South Africa's democratic experiment.
South Africans remember when electricity load shedding brought the country to a standstill in 2008. There was a rush on generators and property in Perth, Australia. An email from Alan Knott-Craig reminding South Africans of the upsides to living in South Africa went viral and elicited responses from thousands of South Africans - Don't Panic was a book that captured a moment in SA history. Fast forward to 2014, and load shedding is forgotten (mostly), the country hosted the soccer world cup and survived the global recession, but now the panic feeling is settling in again. The currency is crashing, politics dominate headlines, service delivery protests are everywhere. Read the advice of Alan Knott-Craig, Alec Hogg, Max du Preez, Siya Mnyanda, Brand Pretorius and a host of others (well-known people, ordinary South Africans and international citizens drawn to South Africa) who tell us: Really, Don't Panic
Political risk - the probability that a political action could significantly affect an organisation - is changing fast, and it's more widespread than ever before. In the past, the chief concern used to be whether a foreign dictator would nationalise the country's oil industry or impose onerous new regulations. Today, political risk stems from a widening array of political agents, from Twitter users and terrorists to local officials, transnational activists, hackers and insurgents. What's more, the very institutions and laws that are supposed to reduce uncertainty and risk often increase it instead. This means that in today's globalised world there are no 'safe' bets. Political risk affects companies and organisations of all sizes, operating everywhere from London to Lahore, even if they don't know it. Political Risk investigates and analyses this shifting landscape, suggests what businesses can do to navigate it, and explains how all of us can better understand and deal with these rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics.
The rhetoric of `freedom and democracy for all' has become almost synonymous with the US. However, at home its business elites have enslaved the poor and underclasses and further afield, while masquerading as a force for good in the world, it has enslaved much of humanity in the name of progress. In this controversial book, investigative journalist Matt Kennard takes us deep into the dark heart of American power. From the corporate state, the prison state and the state of the environment, to humanitarian intervention, the free trade fetish and the divide-and-rule of the working class, The Racket reveals how, no matter which side of the border we are on, we are all being conditioned to condone this modern form of slavery.
The Occupy movement managed to draw global attention to the massive disparity of income, wealth and privilege held by 1% of the population in nations across the world. In The 1% and the rest of us, Tim Di Muzio explores what it means to be part of a socio-economic order presided over by the super-rich and their political servants. Incorporating provocative and original arguments about philanthropy, social wealth and the political role of the super-rich Di Muzio reveals how the 1% are creating a world unto themselves in which the accumulation of ever more money is really a symbolic drive to control society and the natural environment. A timely and innovative book that provides readers with the first global political economy of the 1%, while demonstrating how resistance can continue to challenge their rule.
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