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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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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? Volume three in the Democratic Marxism series, 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 transitionsto sustain life. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical work, the authors collectively examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current moment. This volume builds on the class-struggle focus of Volume 2 by placing ecological issues at the center of democratic Marxism. 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.
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.
Despite the transition from apartheid to democracy, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. Its extremes of wealth and poverty undermine intensifying struggles for a better life for all. The wide-ranging essays in this sixth volume of the New South African Review demonstrate how the consequences of inequality extend throughout society and the political economy, crippling the quest for social justice, polarising the politics, skewing economic outcomes and bringing devastating environmental consequences in their wake. Contributors survey the extent and consequences of inequality across fields as diverse as education, disability, agrarian reform, nuclear geography and small towns, and tackle some of the most difficult social, political and economic issues. How has the quest for greater equality affected progressive political discourse? How has inequality reproduced itself, despite best intentions in social policy, to the detriment of the poor and the historically disadvantaged? How have shifts in mining and the financialisation of the economy reshaped the contours of inequality? How does inequality reach into the daily social life of South Africans, and shape the way in which they interact? How does the extent and shape of inequality in South Africa compare with that of other major countries of the global South which themselves are notorious for their extremes of wealth and poverty? South African extremes of inequality reflect increasing inequality globally, and The Crisis of Inequality will speak to all those - general readers, policy makers, researchers and students - who are demanding a more equal world.
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
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.
An incisive analysis of the state of the global economy and what the future holds. Surrounded by sluggish growth, high rates of unemployment, rising inequality, growing financial instability and increased social tensions, pessimism about our future abounds. Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, one of the world's most influential economic thinkers, explains lucidly the realities of the economic choices that we will soon face. The path that the global economy and markets are on is ending. But what comes thereafter is far from predestined. It critically depends on choices that we make as households and companies, and decisions that our political representatives take. The Only Game in Town details how the world is increasingly being shaken, both from above and from below. It illuminates the growing internal contradictions, the constraints that are undermining growth and prosperity, and the radical overhaul in thinking that is required. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, central banks were handed responsibility for the fate of the global economy. Lifting the veil on the inner workings of these powerful and innovative institutions, El-Erian explains why they cannot save us this time around. Laying out a road map for growth, The Only Game in Town shows how and why collaboration between central bankers, policymakers and business leaders is essential. Drawing on insights from behavioral science, economics and finance, this book provides the tools needed to understand the uncertainties that lie ahead and return us to a path of prosperity. Thought provoking and insightful, this book is required reading for investors, policymakers, and anyone interested in the future.
Looks at both left- and right-wing alternatives to capitalism. Extremely timely in the light of the continued fallout from the financial crisis, and increased interest in critical takes on capitalism. Ideal as a core or supplementary text for undergraduate and post-graduate students in political economy. The global economic crisis has catalysed debates about the merits of capitalism as a system for organising production, distribution and exchange. Capitalism, political elites have argued, is not a fundamentally pernicious or crisis-prone system, and it can be successfully reformed if the right set of policies is found. Conversely, many have argued that a wholesale change of attitude towards the status and creation of wealth in contemporary society is required if crises of this kind are to be prevented in the future. In Capitalism and Its Alternatives, Chris Rogers provides a critical introduction to theories of capitalism and to the forms of its crises in historical and contemporary contexts, as well as reflects on the practice of anti-capitalism and the ways that economic and social relations are shaped, reshaped and resisted. Crucially, the book puts forward two key questions: What alternatives to capitalism exist? And by what processes and through what institutions might they be achieved?
Social movements and civic organizations often face profound strategy dilemmas that can hamper their effectiveness and prevent them from contributing to transformative change and peace. In Zimbabwe two particular dilemmas have fed into and fueled destructive processes of political polarization - dividing society, leadership, and decision-makers well beyond its borders. As conceptualized in this study, the first is whether to prioritize political or economic rights in efforts to bring about transformative change (rights/redistribution). The second is whether and how to work with government and/or donors given their political, economic, and social agendas (participation / resistance). This book investigates these issues through two social movement organizations - the National Constitutional Assembly and the Zimbabwe National War Veterans' Association - and the movements they led to achieve constitutional change and radical land redistribution. Through in-depth case study analysis and peace and conflict impact assessment spanning the years 1997-2010, lessons are drawn for activists, practitioners, policy-makers, and scholars interested in depolarizing concepts underpinning polarizing discourses, transcending strategy dilemmas, and understanding how social action can better contribute to transformative change and peace.
Can the Euro be saved? Should it be?Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz dismantles the prevailing consensus around what ails Europe - arguing that economic stagnation is a direct result of the Euro's flawed birth, demolishing the champions of austerity and offering solutions that can rescue the continent from further devastation.'Stiglitz could hardly have timed The Euro better ... one of those economists with a rare ability to help readers understand complex ideas' Philip Aldrick, The Times'Original, hard-hitting ... Much more than a demolition job. These chapters are full of constructive proposals' Martin Sandbu, Financial Times'Terrific and clarifying' Peter Goodman, The New York Times'Coolly analytical ... he is surely right: without a radical overhaul of its workings, the Euro seems all but certain to fail' Economist
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