Post-apartheid South Africa is characterized by centralized, neo-liberal policymaking that perpetuates, and in some cases exaggerates, socio-economic inequalities inherited from the apartheid era. The African National Congress (ANC) leadership’s alignment with powerful international and domestic market actors produces tensions within the Tripartite Alliance and between government and civil society. Consequently, several characteristics of ‘predatory liberalism’ are evident in contemporary South Africa: neo-liberal restructuring of the economy is combined with an increasing willingness by government to assert its authority, to marginalize and delegitimize those critical of its abandonment of inclusive governance. A new form of oligarch power, combining entrenched economic interests with those of a new ‘black bourgeoisie’ promoted by narrowly implemented Black Economic Empowerment policies, diminishes prospects for broad-based socio-economic transformation. Because the new policy environment is failing to resolve tensions between global market demands for increasing market liberalization and domestic popular demands for poverty-alleviation and socio-economic transformation, the ANC leadership is forced increasingly to confront ‘ultra-leftists’ who are challenging its credentials as defender of the National Democratic Revolution which was the cornerstone in the anti-apartheid struggle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations