Post-Apartheid South Africa: Economic and Social Inclusion

by Vusi Gumede


"The book is a retrospective analysis of the first two decades of public policy making in post-apartheid South Africa. Its main argument is that the post-independent South African state, through its policies, is failing to uplift the lives of the poor to an acceptable level of humanity. This argument is backed by thorough research that draws on a detailed historical narrative on the political economy of South Africa. The author draws parallels between the post-apartheid and apartheid dispensations’ developmental route and he concludes that that they both colluded with global capital to the detriment of the poor. The book is thematically organized in a manner that permits a comprehensive examination of inclusive development in South Africa since 1994. Its innovation is privileging an Africanist perspective and dealing with the racial inequalities that continue to haunt South Africa while also acknowledging the widely published class analysis of the post-apartheid state. The author’s previous experience as a government bureaucrat offers a rare and unique insider perspective which makes the book stand out. The book raises pertinent issues such as the delicate relationship within the Tripartite Alliance that, in the author’s view, impede some of the policy moves that the ANC could have pursued; the violent nature of the post-apartheid state that collude with corporate South Africa to unleash violence on the poor (Marikana massacre is cited as one case in point), the inability to forge a nation despite the progressive Constitution, the ruling class’s failure to prioritise the poor in policies, and what the author calls inappropriate theorisation with regard to the conditions and challenges facing South Africa. These are just some of the arguments the author advances in the book and are neatly supported by evidence. This is a highly recommended text for anyone who is concerned about Africa and not just South Africa alone." —Thandika Mkandawire, former Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development and Chair in African Development at the London School of Economics (LSE)

"The book is an important contribution to the debates about the future of South Africa, distilling from the first two decades of democracy, particularly from the perspective of developmental state. To what extent have successive post-apartheid administrations in South Africa lived up to the ideal of wanting to be a developmental state in terms of policy conceptualization and formulation and, importantly, with regard to implementation capacity? The book sets out to answer this question and other relevant questions. I recommend the book not only to academics, researchers and students, but also to policy-makers in both the public and private sectors." —Joel Netshitenzhe, Executive Director of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA)


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