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Centre for Civil Society (CCS) and African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (ACCEDE) Seminar

The Local-Global Political Economy of Durban: Grassroots Development and Megaprojects, at the Durban Harbour and Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone - Understanding Development in the Context of Just Transition and the 4th Industrial revolution debates.

Date: Friday 17 May 2019
Time: 13:00-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room A726, Level 7, Shepstone, Howard College, UKZN

Patrick Bond: On Just Transition debates in local-global perspective
Lisa Thompson: On the Political Economy of SEZs: Technological Innovation and Inclusive Employment Creation in Dube Trade Port?
Mbuso Ngubane (NUMSA): Just Transition from the Perspective of Labour.

The seminar presentations discuss the analytical and activist dimensions of a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung funded initiative, which aims to explore, from grassroots to global scales of analysis and action, where the strengths and fault-lines lie in BRICS and G20 relations with civil society. The research involves examining the commitments made by leaders at Summit level in relation to workers’ rights that social needs are reflected in official declarations as well as organised labour’s inputs through the L20 and BRICS Trade Union Forum (BTUF). From time to time, G20 leaders articulate path-breaking approaches to development, such as the then German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble’s 2017 speech in Durban at the World Economic Forum-Africa conference, where he explained how the G20 Compact With Africa (CWA) offered a new vision: G20 and African states supporting new infrastructure-intensive investments.

The presentations link the dialogues and commitments made by G20 and BRICS leaders to Just Transition dialogues in Durban. Just Transition debates highlight the opportunities and constraints that face poor communities in Durban in accessing employment and community benefits in mega-projects. The debates also highlight the synergies and sinkholes in the development policy approach adopted at national level as influenced by G20 and BRICS platforms. The presenters critique the emphasis on infrastructural development and 4th IR technological innovation poses great risks to the inclusion of marginalised communities in development and to sustainable development.


Patrick Bond teaches political economy at Wits and directed CCS from 2004-16. His books include Elite Transition, Talk Left Walk Right, and Unsustainable South Africa.

Lisa Thompson does research and teaching on the political economy of development at the University of the Western Cape. She directs the Centre for Citizenship and Democracy at the School of Government. Relevant publications include Social Movements in the South (with Chris Tapscott) and Beyond Aid? International Development Cooperation: Re-colonising Africa? (2019).

Mbuso Ngubane is Regional Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in KwaZulu-Natal, and a regular media expert on collective bargaining and forms of labour mobilisation.

 Other seminar programmes
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