Shadow of Liberation

Contestation and Compromise in the Economic and Social Policy of the African National Congress, 1943–1996
Author(s): ,
  • Publication Date: October 2019
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156 mm 288 pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-395-5
  • eBook EAN: 9781776143979
  • PDF EAN: 9781776142132
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): R350.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): US$30

Shadow of Liberation explores in intricate detail the twists, turns, contestations and compromises of the African National Congress’ (ANC) economic and social policy-making, particularly during the transition era of the 1990s and the early years of democracy. Padayachee and Van Niekerk focus on the primary question of how and why the ANC, given its historical anti-inequality, redistributive stance, did such a dramatic about-face in the 1990s and moved towards an essentially market-dominated approach. Was it pushed or did it go willingly? What role, if any, did Western governments and international financial institutions play? And what of the role of the late apartheid state and South African business? Did leaders and comrades ‘sell out’ the ANC’s emancipatory policy vision?

Drawing on the best available primary archival evidence as well as extensive interviews with key protagonists across the political, non-government and business spectrum, the authors argue that the ANC’s emancipatory policy agenda was broadly to establish a social democratic welfare state to uphold rights of social citizenship. However, its economic policy framework to realise this mission was either non-existent or egregiously misguided. With the damning revelations of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on the massive corruption of the South African body politic, the timing of this book could not be more relevant. South Africans need to confront the economic and social policy choices that the liberation movement made and to see how these decisions may have facilitated the conditions for corruption– not only of a crude financial character but also of our emancipatory values as a liberation movement – to emerge and flourish.

 

This book seeks to answer the question of what happened between 1990 and 1996, years during which the ANC abandoned its earlier advocacy of a social democratic welfare state to embrace instead ‘market driven’ neo-liberalism. Padayachee and Van Niekerk’s achievement in researching this story from the surviving archival materials as well as the recollections of participants is impressive. Combining fine scholarship with vivid narrative, this is an economist’s detective story.
— Tom Lodge, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Limerick

When the prospect of a negotiated settlement came onto the political agenda in the 1980s, one outcome of policy discussions within the ANC was the birth of the Macro Economic Research Group (MERG). This book provides the first comprehensive account of what became of MERG, once considered the ANC’s ‘trickle up’ economic plan, and sheds interesting light on a chapter of our recent history that is often forgotten.
— Z. Pallo Jordan, head of ANC’s Department of Information and Publicity from 1987, cabinet minister 1994–2009, and a member of National Executive Committee of the African National Congress until 2014.

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Chapter 1: Setting the Scene on ANC Economic and Social Policy
Chapter 2: African Claims, the Freedom Charter and Social Democracy, 1943–1960
Chapter 3: Incarceration, Exile and Homecoming, c.1960–c.1991
Chapter 4: Economic Policy Debates during a Decade of Liberation, 1985–1993
Chapter 5: On the Way to GEAR, 1994–1996
Chapter 6: Making Sense of the Economic Policy Debates
Chapter 7: South African Reserve Bank Independence
Chapter 8: The Politics of Health Policy-Making in the Transition Era
Chapter 9: Interpretation and Conclusion
Select Bibliography
Index

About the Authors

Vishnu Padayachee is Distinguished Professor and Derek Schrier and Cecily Cameron Chair in Development Economics at the School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Macroeconomic Research Group (MERG).

Robert van Niekerk is Chair of Public Governance at the Wits School of Governance. He was active in policy-making processes for a democratic South Africa in education and health during and after the 1990’s transition era, including serving as a coordinator and policy analyst for the health section of the National Commission on Higher Education.

This book seeks to answer the question of what happened between 1990 and 1996, years during which the ANC abandoned its earlier advocacy of a social democratic welfare state to embrace instead ‘market driven’ neo-liberalism. Padayachee and Van Niekerk’s achievement in researching this story from the surviving archival materials as well as the recollections of participants is impressive. Combining fine scholarship with vivid narrative, this is an economist’s detective story.
— Tom Lodge, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Limerick

When the prospect of a negotiated settlement came onto the political agenda in the 1980s, one outcome of policy discussions within the ANC was the birth of the Macro Economic Research Group (MERG). This book provides the first comprehensive account of what became of MERG, once considered the ANC’s ‘trickle up’ economic plan, and sheds interesting light on a chapter of our recent history that is often forgotten.
— Z. Pallo Jordan, head of ANC’s Department of Information and Publicity from 1987, cabinet minister 1994–2009, and a member of National Executive Committee of the African National Congress until 2014.

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