Politics and Economic Policymaking in South Africa since 1994

Alan Hirsch Brian Levy, Musa Nxele

Economic policy in South Africa since 1994 has confronted the imperative to include middle class, working class and poor black people more fully into the economy in circumstances which circumscribe the scope for constructive negotiation and lasting agreement. The new regime of 1994 sought a political settlement which allowed stronger growth, economic transformation of the elite and economic inclusion of the poor. After meeting with some success, the combination of the global financial crisis and new political leadership led to policy uncertainty, increasing corruption and some deterioration of state capacity, which resulted in exceptionally slow growth. The puzzle this chapter engages with is why the struggle over rents has stood in the way of a mutually beneficial deal.

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