Top Menu

Dear Reader, we make this and other articles available for free online to serve those unable to afford or access the print edition of Monthly Review. If you read the magazine online and can afford a print subscription, we hope you will consider purchasing one. Please visit the MR store for subscription options. Thank you very much. —Eds.

South Africa’s ‘Radical Economic Transformation’

President Cyril Ramaphosa at a commemoration ceremony for Volvo Group

President Cyril Ramaphosa at a commemoration ceremony for Volvo Group Southern Africa’s Youth Employment Initiative event held at the Volvo Trucks assembly plant in Durban. Image credit: African Times, "The role of youth in advancing RET in the epoch of the 4th Industrial Revolution," July 15, 2018.GCIS Kopano Tlape

Lekgantshi Console Tleane is a research associate in the Change Management Unit of the Office of the Principal and Vice Chancellor at the University of South Africa.

Nearly a quarter-century ago, the transition from juridical apartheid to a liberal constitutional democracy in South Africa brought with it hopes for the improvement of the standard of living for the majority-black working class and the poor. However, it did not take long before voices of discontent began to emerge from both within and beyond the ruling alliance led by the African National Congress (ANC).1 Eventually, growing anger at the ANC government’s perceived inability to improve the conditions of the black working class and the poor led the organization, at its December 2017 54th National Conference in Johannesburg, to adopt an economic and development policy that has come to be known as the Radical Economic Transformation program (RET).2

The plan lays out a long list of initiatives as critical to the country’s economic transformation in South Africa: reigniting growth by encouraging an investment pact between government, business, and labor; rooting out corruption; avoiding credit downgrades; regulating uncompetitive behavior by corporations; accelerating land redistribution by, among other measures, expropriation without compensation, while at the same time ensuring food security; improving the governance and management of state-owned companies, and using them to catalyze growth; addressing the pay gap between company executives and workers and implementing the minimum wage; nationalizing the central bank; transforming financial institutions such as banks, to make development finance more widely available; fast-tracking the establishment of a state bank; setting up a sovereign wealth fund; strengthening black economic empowerment through preferential procurement for black companies; and supporting small businesses in general.

Delivering his maiden State of the Nation address as president in February, Cyril Ramaphosa promised to translate the ANC’s proposals into government policy.3 To assess whether the RET will bring about these changes, let us examine the ANC’s approaches to economic policy over the years, both prior to the 1994 political settlement and since.

The ANC’s Policy History

The ANC has long been able to accommodate different and at times clashing ideological and policy positions. But in his studies of the ANC’s history, Dale McKinley concludes that the organization has always been under the influence of the aspirant black middle class.4 This class character would prove pivotal in shaping the organization’s ideological content during the years of the liberation struggle, as well as later policy choices once it assumed political power.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the ANC was compelled to negotiate with the apartheid regime—largely because of diminishing support from the disintegrating Soviet Union—the earliest clear signs emerged of a settlement whose policy direction would be far removed from the interests and aspirations of the black working class and the poor.5

Many other factors obliged the ANC to agree to negotiations with the apartheid government. These included growing discomfort and fatigue among some southern African states toward continued support for the armed struggle against apartheid South Africa and for exiled ANC leaders. This came even as the South African Defence Force was intensifying its military attacks.6

Big business, meanwhile, was desperate to avert the negative consequences of international sanctions on profits, effectively forcing the apartheid government to consider negotiations and encouraging the ANC to do the same. As the economy stagnated, South African capital had grown isolated in a globalizing world economy. Major firms could make such demands on the state due largely to the fact that in 1985 Chase Manhattan had led other U.S. banks in refusing to extend loans to the government, precipitating the near-collapse of the apartheid economy.7

This confluence of the weakening apartheid state on one side and a liberation organization with a shrinking international base on the other led to what some observers have called an “elite transition.”8 This saw the emergence of a liberal faction within the then ruling whites-only National Party and an aspirant black bourgeoisie grouping within the ANC. After the first democratic elections in 1994, the “elite transition” would in turn lead to an “elite pact,” not just between the ANC and the National Party, but also between the established white elites and their African nationalist counterparts.9 Thus, already at the dawn of South African democracy, an “elite-driven democracy” began to emerge.10 At an administrative level, the pact took the form of a Government of National Unity (GNU). The GNU proved short-lived, however, with the National Party withdrawing in 1996.11

While political disagreements led to the collapse of the GNU and opened the door for white oppositional politics, it was on the economic front that the elite pact would be tested. Its practical manifestation was the maintenance of racialized inequalities inherited from apartheid. As Jeremy Seekings and Nicoli Nattrass note, “in the decade following the end of apartheid, there was little change in the overall level of income inequality; if anything, inequality increased after several decades of stability.”12

Instead of addressing these entrenched inequalities, the elite pact largely retained the macroeconomic policies of its predecessors, with the 1993 apartheid government’s National Economic Model (NEM) supplying the template for the post-apartheid government’s 1996 Growth, Employment and Redistribution strategy (GEAR). The similarities and continuities between the two policies were remarkable. The NEM was “a process of structural adjustment in the developed market economy and a reconstruction of its less developed socio-economic framework, in particular the equitable access of all South Africans to all opportunities in the economy.”13 GEAR was to adopt most elements of the NEM, combined with the major features of the Washington Consensus, to produce one of the most neoliberal policies of the post-Cold War era.

GEAR’s main objectives were to promote private sector-led economic development; prioritize a conservative fiscal policy and repayment of apartheid-era debt; privatize state assets; integrate South Africa into the world economy (i.e., surrender the country’s economic sovereignty in the name of neoliberal globalization); forego local industrialization in favor of an export-oriented economy, under the guise of international “competitiveness”; foster a flexible labor market (i.e., precariousness of work); liberalize exchange controls, which would lead to massive capital flight and the relocation of some of the country’s major finance houses to London; and fight inflation.14

As this list suggests, the ANC government’s adoption of GEAR in a manner described by then-Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel as “non-negotiable” was not only undemocratic; it marked a downward spiral in South Africa’s neoliberal turn.15 To this end, “the persistence of inequality after apartheid reflected the continuities between the late apartheid distribution regime and the post-apartheid distributional regime. In short, after 1994, government policies did not ensure equal opportunities for all in the new, democratic South Africa.”16

Over the years the official economic and development blueprints changed names. Faced with increasing unemployment—from 22 percent in 1994 to 25 percent in 2004—and working-class militancy against weak provision of basic services such as water, electricity, education, and health, the government introduced the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA).17 The program’s stated aim was to halve unemployment and poverty by 2014. Following AsgiSA, an even more ambitious platform was announced—the National Development Plan. Notably, this new pathway, which set national development goals through 2030, was developed and adopted under the political leadership of Trevor Manuel, by then serving as Minister of Planning.

A System in Crisis

These policy maneuvers demonstrate beyond any doubt that the South African political class has finally recognized the depth of the crisis into which the country’s capitalist system has sunk. Cheered on by big business and the corporate media, the petty bourgeoisie and its allies within the ANC believed that previous attempts at neoliberal reform would counteract the inherited inequalities of the apartheid era. What escaped the ANC was the fact that the capitalist system is inherently incapable of addressing what the ANC itself calls the “triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty.”

Again, measured by unemployment figures, successive economic and development policies adopted by the post-apartheid government have failed to ameliorate the plight of the working class. The latest figures from Statistics South Africa show that “the unemployment rate (26.7%) remained unchanged over the first quarter of 2018 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.”18 In addition, “the unemployment rate among young people aged 15–34 was 38.2%, implying that more than one in every three young people in the labor force did not have a job in the first quarter of 2018.”19

Apart from the black working class and poor, the black middle class has grown impatient at the fact that—as Frantz Fanon pointed out nearly sixty years ago—it has been prevented from acquiring wealth the way its former oppressors did: through patronage from the state.20 Reflecting on the size and shape of the black middle class after 1994, Roger Southall observes:

One of the few certainties about the black middle class in post-apartheid South Africa is that, while it remains relatively small in both absolute terms and as a proportion of the total population (reckoned at 51.5 million in 2013), it has experienced significant growth as a result of the democratic transition. ANC rule has driven the removal of all apartheid-era racial barriers which operated to bar black upward social mobility. Notably, educational options for blacks have been greatly improved, and official strategies of affirmative action and BEE [Black Economic Empowerment] have massively increased job opportunities for blacks at middle and managerial levels within the public and private sectors alike.21

Despite this evident growth, Southall notes that it is still difficult to quantify the size of the black middle class.

The above observations and limitations notwithstanding, recent years have made clear the growing impatience among the black middle class toward what is considered the slow pace of “transformation” within and through all levers of the economy. These grievances have been expressed at two main levels. The first is the persistence of pre-1994 ownership levels of the means of production. While it is difficult to measure ownership patterns of the entire private sector, one common metric is the ownership patterns on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the country’s main stock exchange. Figures released by the National Treasury in 2017 indicate that only 9 percent of publicly traded companies were directly owned by blacks. This means that 91 percent of these companies remain in white hands.22 The second complaint is the extent to which both the public and private sectors continue to procure goods and services from white-owned or majority white-owned companies.23 Relatedly, black lawyers and other professionals such as chartered accountants argue that their industries still award more work to white-owned firms.24

These complaints demonstrate how the state in most postcolonial countries becomes a site of accumulation. These aspirations are sometimes defended on the grounds that the apartheid government used the state to resolve the so-called Poor White Problem through a deliberate policy of state-led job creation and reservation that privileged poor Afrikaners.25 Indeed, this allowed the latter to climb the economic ladder and assume the status of a kind of upper working class. The apartheid government also supported Afrikaner capital to compete with English capital. It was through this initiative that Afrikaner-owned banks, insurance companies, and mutual societies flourished and could in turn extend loans to other Afrikaner-owned companies to grow and build more wealth.26

In effect, the black middle class is appealing to the ANC government to take a leaf from the ethno-nationalist policies of successive apartheid governments. Although, as noted above, there have been improvements in appointments to key positions for the black middle class, there is evidence suggesting that white males still occupy top positions, especially within the private sector.27 The demand made by the black middle class through professional lobby groups such as the Black Management Forum is to advocate for the appointment of more black managers within the private sector, as well as some public institutions where “transformation” is perceived to be lagging behind. Overall, post-apartheid South Africa has failed to create a black capitalist class, hence the grievances of the black middle class—once again foreseen by Fanon—which wishes to become a capitalist class just as the Afrikaners managed to do.28

This point is made by Oupa Lehulere, who, in trying to understand rampant corruption within and against the state, concludes that part of the problem was the post-apartheid government’s failure to create a black capitalist class. Lehulere lists what he terms “four lines of defense” created during the 1994 settlement as bulwark around capitalist organizations and the privileged white middle class, ensuring that their wealth would be preserved: constitutionalism and constitutional continuity; the state capture of the ANC (by monopoly capital); flags of convenience (by allowing major companies to shift the domicile to London); and, privatization of state enterprises, or starving state-owned enterprises of investment.29 These lines of defense would effectively prevent the creation of a black capitalist class, thus leading to the problems outlined above.

Constitutionalism and constitutional continuity meant that the state would have to operate within the confines of the constitution, which, among other defensive measures, provided that colonial and apartheid laws and statues would remain valid and in force unless changed through legal process; those who committed illegal acts in the past, such as looting of state resources, could not be punished unless a new law provided otherwise; and that corporations would continue to be treated as juristic persons, which meant that they can claim “harm” should their possessions be threatened with expropriation. The subtle intent of these “defenses” was to indicate that blacks could not be trusted with property and their proximity thereto should be limited or controlled.

Arguing from another perspective, philosopher Mogobe Ramose has criticized the institutionalization of constitutional democracy, in which the national constitution is supreme, and indeed where the Constitutional Court is the final arbiter in all matters relating to the constitution. For Ramose, the displacement of the parliament, or parliamentary sovereignty, even though remaining an instrument and platform of bourgeoisie expression and interests, takes away the last semblance of democratic expression by the people. It effectively curtails majority rule.30

The capture of the ANC by big business is the second “defense” to prevent the creation of a black capitalist class. South Africa is a classic case of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’s formulation: “The executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”31 This mode of policy formulation—which is favored by big business and its allies, the corporate media, and both liberal and right-leaning academics and commentators, and which some, like Trevor Manuel, can declare “non-negotiable,” despite the groundswell of opposition it has provoked since 1994—demonstrates the extent to which the post-apartheid state is indeed under direct control by the capitalist class.

The relaxation of exchange controls and permission granted to South African companies (especially finance and mining oligarchies) to relocate their headquarters to London meant that profits could be generated in the country but expatriated elsewhere, where they could be “protected against South African people by their new-found ‘parents’—the UK and U.S. governments.”32

Arguably the most devastating “defense” against the post-apartheid government and its allies, including the impatient black middle class, was the privatization of parastatal and state-owned companies. For instance, major municipalities sold off their stadiums to local white-managed rugby associations. Yet these municipalities nevertheless had to renovate the same stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, at a cost of $7.5 million in the case of the City of Tshwane’s renovation of Loftus Versfeld stadium, now owned by the white Blue Bulls Rugby Club. The venue was returned to the club after the World Cup.33

Lehulere notes bleakly that “if privatization was not possible, the state allowed these assets to fall into neglect so as to allow the ‘private sector,’ meaning the big capitalist, to create ‘new industries’ to substitute [for] the state industries. Private health is one such example—the decline of state health has led to the consolidation of the rise of private health.”34 The rate and extent to which parastatals and state-owned companies have been allowed to be mismanaged has indeed opened the doors for liberal and right-wing voices to promote further privatization.

The combined pressures of frustration and anger among the black working class and poor, whose plight has only grown more desperate in recent years, and among the aspirant black middle class, which resents being blocked from reaching the heights of a full capitalist class, have compelled the ANC to rethink its policy trajectory. The emergence of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the party’s relatively strong performance in the 2014 general elections for national and provincial governments, and in 2016 for local government elections, came as a rude awakening for the ANC.35 For the first time after 1994, the organization realized that it could easily go the route of other independence political parties, which began as liberation movements and lost elections after twenty years in power—unless they turned into dictatorships.

Equally threatening to ANC rule is the right-leaning Democratic Alliance, which, although its core constituency remains white, has managed to make some meaningful inroads into black constituencies.36

Another factor that makes the EFF a real threat to the ANC has been its ability to position itself as a party of the black left, thus successfully occupying the space that would traditionally have belonged to the Black Consciousness Movement, the Pan Africanist Congress, and allied organizations. Through its skillful use of rhetoric, the EFF has all but usurped the core messages and symbols of both the Black Consciousness Movement and the Pan Africanist Congress, including the ideologies of Black Consciousness and Pan-Africanism, demands for the repossession of land, identification with the continental and global struggles of black people, and Black Power symbols.37 It is against this complex background that discussions developed within the ANC that culminated in the adoption of the position paper and resolution on the RET.

Why RET Will Fail

A careful consideration of what is meant by the RET, what form (if any) its implementation will take, and whether it will succeed in addressing the real shortcomings of post-apartheid economic and development policy, suggests a treacherous road ahead for those who wish for this policy to succeed. Let us examine some of the challenges that stand in the way of a successful RET, whatever is understood by it.

The ANC’s multi-class character means that it lacks a single ideological platform from which to launch a coherent policy initiative. This problem is not new; it has characterized the organization since its inception and early years, when its leadership comprised chiefs (some of who would later join the infamous Bantustan system), educated African elites, and reformist clergymen.38 Reflecting on the organization before 1940, Peter Limb writes: “The ANC had inconsistencies in its policies, switching back and forth from a softly-softly, hamba kahle to a more a strident protest approach. This was largely the product of the class composition of its leaders and the impact of ideologies that preached moderation.”39

Throughout its existence, the ANC has maintained this complex multi-class character. This varied composition, together with the fact that its reformist wing always aligns with big business, the corporate media, and sections of the black middle class, promises to dilute most aspects of the RET. The reformist wing of the ANC is understood to be pushing back against what may be the left-leaning approach to economic transformation, in favor of a more market-friendly approach.40

Coupled with the influence of the reformist wing within the organization is the fact that Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC leader recently elected as president by the National Assembly after the disastrous reign of Jacob Zuma, was always the top choice for big business. Ramaphosa was roundly congratulated after winning the presidency of the ANC in December 2017.41 The stock markets responded positively, with the Rand jumping 4 percent to reach a high of R12.54/US$ at the time.42

With such backing from big business and the influence of reformist and pro-market elements, any efforts to advance a more radical plan are unlikely to succeed. The fact remains that the ANC is under heavy hegemonic control of big business.

There is thus a direct political continuity from the early 1990s elite pact to the current situation. Although it might be argued that there was an attempt to shift the ANC to the left, these were, as demonstrated below, without much legitimacy, let alone clarity. The resurgence of pro-market sentiment within the organization means that all attempts to effect a shift to the left with a view to address the grievance of the working class will face fierce resistance.

These impediments will take two main forms. First, there does not seem to be any coherent, pro-working class concept of “radical economic transformation.” The available resolutions seek to maintain a balance between attempts to effect changes to the economy while being careful not to upset market sentiment. Experience should have long ago taught the ANC that only one winner ever emerges from such balancing acts—the interests of big business.

The second challenge for the left-leaning faction within the organization is the fact that at the head of campaigns for the RET is Jacob Zuma, the discredited former president whose name is tainted by allegations of corruption and cronyism. Like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Zuma managed to build a Bonapartist rhetoric that gave the superficial impression of a pro-poor agenda, seeming to question for the first time the stubborn inequalities arising from the continued ownership of the means of production by the white minority.

But a careful analysis of the most vociferous supporters of the RET as presented by the Zuma faction reveals a clear petty bourgeois impatience to gain access to the levers of capital. The Zuma faction nevertheless managed to present this project as though it catered for the interests of the working class.

Zuma has been criticized not because the RET as envisaged would not benefit the working class, but instead because the real motives behind the push for RET are said to be to loot the resources of the state under a program of nationalization of key industries, and to enrich corrupt members and allies of the Zuma faction. Indeed, Zuma’s indiscretions and disastrous leadership emboldened even the apartheid beneficiary and second-richest person in South Africa, Johan Rupert, to argue that RET is a “code word for theft.”43

Ironically, those supposedly on the left within the ANC alliance, such as the General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Blade Nzimande, have found themselves, wittingly or unwittingly, sharing the same sentiments as Rupert: that RET “is almost entirely focused on advancing narrow black elite accumulation.”44

It may be argued that Nzimande makes some good points. What Nzimande and many others in the SACP fail to do, though, is articulate a program independent of the multi-class yet business-dominated ANC—one that could establish a new project for and by the black working class, for its own emancipation. The crisis of legitimacy that RET suffers, due largely to its association with the Zuma faction, could well serve to discredit any possible shifts toward the left within and by the ANC.

Apart from the inherent contradictions in the resolution on RET, which make it difficult to clearly identify the document’s class leanings, the main force that will lead to the failure— and in fact complete collapse—of the program is the class character and incompatible interests within the ANC. On the one hand is the forceful, well-organized, and well-funded reformist and pro-business wing, which can be said to be in control of the ANC through its president. On the other is the disorganized and suspect faction coalescing around the disgraced Zuma, lacking in legitimacy and seen by some as mainly interested in the enrichment of the black middle class.

As the debates go on, what will be forgotten, as the policy falters, will be the discontentment and disillusionment that prompted a radical shift in focus in the first place—the plight of the black working class and the poor. In three years, another national conference of the ANC will reflect once again on what could have been done to address the inequality, unemployment, and poverty that afflict the black working class and poor. Further reflections will follow on how to change the ownership patterns of the means of production to address the grievances of the black middle class and pave the way for its ascendency to become a full capitalist class. These contradictions have stood at the very center of the ANC for over a century. The extent to which the organization can continue to manage these contradictions is itself a matter for continued reflection.


  1. The ANC-led ruling alliance comprises the ANC itself, the South African Communist Party, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. The civic body, the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO)—which effectively exists only in name, with no mass-base—is sometimes added to the troika.
  2. For the full version of the policy program, see African National Congress, 54th National Conference: Report and Resolutions, especially the section titled “Economic Transformation,” available at
  3. See State of the Nation Address by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, February 11, 2018. Available at
  4. Dale T. McKinley, The ANC and the Liberation Struggle: A Critical Political Biography (London: Pluto, 1997), and Dale T. McKinley, South Africa’s Corporatized Liberation: A Critical Analysis of the ANC in Power (Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2017).
  5. Two books by an academic sympathetic to apartheid and an apartheid state operative, respectively, demonstrate how the ANC resigned itself to entering negotiations with the apartheid government, thus ending all ambitions to take power through armed struggle or mass insurrection. See Willie Esterhuyse, Endgame: Secret Talks and the End of Apartheid (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2012) and Niël Barnard, Secret Revolution: Memoirs of a Spy Boss (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2015).
  6. List of SADF Raids into Neighbouring Countries, South African History Online,
  7. Alan Hirsh, “The Origins and Implications of South Africa’s Continuing Financial Crisis,” Transformation 9 (1989): 31–50.
  8. Patrick Bond, Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa (London and Pietermaritzburg: Pluto and University of KwaZulu Natal Press, 2000).
  9. Christi van der Westhuizen, White Power and the Rise and Fall of the National Party (Cape Town: Zebra, 2007).
  10. See Jeffrey Herbst, “Prospects for Elite-Driven Democracy in South Africa,” Political Science Quarterly 112, no. 4 (1997–98): 565–615.
  11. For more on the short-lived Government of National Unity and the eventual self-dissolution of the National Party, see Neil Southern, “The Government of National Unity and the Demise of the National Party in Post-settlement South Africa,” Politikon 42, no. 2 (I2015): 235–54.
  12. Jeremy Seekings and Nicoli Nattrass, Class, Race, and Inequality in South Africa (Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu Natal Press, 2006), 340.
  13. See Bond, Elite Transition, 76–77.
  14. See Oupa Lehulere, “Giving South Africans the GEARs: The ’97 Budget,” Southern Africa Report 12, no. 4 (1997): 7–10.
  15. Quoted in Bond, Elite Transition, 78. Trevor Manuel remains to this day a chief defender and advocate of neoliberalism. It was under his stewardship that the National Treasury turned into the key policy-making institution, mainstreaming major neoliberal policies through all spheres of the state.
  16. Seekings and Nattrass, Class, Race, and Inequality in South Africa, 341.
  17. See Statistics South Africa, Employment, Unemployment, Skills and Economic growth: An Exploration of Household Survey Evidence on Skills Development and Unemployment between 1994 and 2014 (undated),
  18. Statistics South Africa, “Quarterly Labour Force Survey QLFS Q1: 2018,” May 15, 2018.
  19. Statistics South Africa, “Youth Unemployment Still High in Q1: 2018.”
  20. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (London: Penguin, 1967), especially chapter 3.
  21. Roger Southall, The New Black Middle Class in South Africa (Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2016), 41–42.
  22. Lynn Thomas, Ownership of JSE-Listed companies: Research Report for National Treasury—September 2017 (Pretoria: National Treasury, 2017), available at It should be noted that ownership figures on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are intensely debated. Other privately funded agencies dispute the low figures provided. Whether either official or unofficial figures are accurate is beyond the scope of this article. The figures given here are used purely to illustrate the grievances of the black middle class.
  23. Dumisani Hlophe, “White Companies Still Cornering Most of Market,” Sunday Independent, August 21, 2016.
  24. Lucien Pierce, “Black Law Firms Forced to Battle Unfair Odds,” Business Day, May 4, 2017,
  25. A white ethnic group in South Africa, predominantly descendants of the Dutch who arrived and colonized the country during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Defeated by the British colonists in 1902, they regained full political power in 1948 and immediately restored segregationist policies practiced earlier by the British, establishing the apartheid system.
  26. Ivor Wilkins and Hans Strydom, The Super Afrikaners: Inside the Afrikaner Broederbond (Johannesburg: Ball, 2012).
  27. Commission for Employment Equity, 17th Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report 2016–2017 (Pretoria: Department of Labour, 2017).
  28. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, especially chapter 3.
  29. See Oupa Lehulere, “The Corruption of a Dream,” Pambazuka News, April 6, 2017,
  30. Mogobe Ramose and Derek Hook, “’To Whom Does the Land Belong?’: Mogobe Bernard Ramose Talks to Derek Hook,” Psychology in Society 50 (2016): 86–98.
  31. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, available at
  32. Lehulere, “The Corruption of a Dream.”
  33. Sapa, “Loftus Will Be Ready for 2010,” IOL, June 24, 2008, The present author has direct knowledge of this matter, as he was the official spokesperson for the City of Tshwane at the time of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
  34. Lehulere, “The Corruption of a Dream.”
  35. The EFF, a breakaway from the ANC led by the latter’s Young League leader, Julius Malema, garnered 6.35 percent of the national votes during the 2014 national elections, which translated into twenty-five seats in the 400-member National Assembly (the lower house of parliament, equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives). It won 8.19 percent of votes during the 2016 local government elections. See Electoral Commission of South Africa, “2014 National and Provincial Elections: National Results” and “2016 Municipal Elections Leaderboard,”
  36. The DA garnered 22.23 percent of the votes during the 2014 national elections, which translated into eighty-nine seats for the National Assembly; in the 2016 local elections, the party won 26.9 percent of the vote (“2014 National and Provincial Elections” and “2016 Municipal Elections Leaderboard”).
  37. On the EFF’s ideological positioning, see Floyd Shivhambu, ed., The Coming Revolution: Julius Malema and the Fight for Economic Freedom (Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2014).
  38. See Timothy Gibbs, Mandela’s Kinsmen: Nationalist Elites and Apartheid’s First Bantustan (Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2014). See also Dale T. McKinley, The ANC and the Liberation Struggle: A Critical Political Biography (London: Pluto, 1997).
  39. In IsiZulu, one of South Africa’s indigenous languages, hamba kahle can be literally translated as “go well.” As used by Limb, it might be better understood as “riding along steadily, no rushing,” evoking the ANC’s preference for incrementalist reforms. Peter Limb, The ANC’s Early Years: Nation, Class and Place in South Africa before 1940 (Pretoria, Unisa, 2010).
  40. A key figure in the market-friendly pushback is the chairperson of the ANC’s subcommittee on economic transformation, Enoch Godongwana, a well-known champion of marketization who is often praised by the corporate media for his efforts to counter left-leaning efforts within the organization. See, for example, Stephen Grootes, “ANC’s Inner War—After the New Hope, Remnants of the Empire Strike Back,” Daily Maverick First Thing blog,
  41. See “Big Business Congratulates New ANC President, Ramaphosa,” Business Report, December 18, 2017, http://
  42. “Big Business Congratulates New ANC President, Ramaphosa.”
  43. See Corinne Gretler and Dylan Griffiths, “Johan Rupert: ‘Radical Economic Transformation Is Just Code Word for Theft’,” Biznews, September 13, 2017,; “These Are the Richest Billionaires in South Africa in 2018,” BusinessTech,
  44. See “Nzimande Slams ‘Radical Economic Transformation Rhetoric,” Cape Times, September 26, 2017.
2018, Volume 70, Issue 04 (September 2018)
Comments are closed.