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Publication Details

Reference
Bond, Patrick Translation ka-Manzi, Faith  (2014) What, really, did the ANC deliver? Tokenistic social policy (Ngaphandle kwemigomo yezenhlalakahle yokuthiba abantu).  : -.

Summary
Ngaphandle kwemigomo yezenhlalakahle yokuthiba abantu
NguPatrick Bond Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi 16 April 2014

Ikuphi okwenziwe nguhulumeni waseNingizimu Afrika eminyakeni engamashumi amabili? Izwe elikhulu elinabantu abathola imali yesibonelelo abayizigidi eziyishumi nesithupha (cishe ingxenye yesithathu kwizwelonke); abantu abafika kumaphesenti angu95 abathole amanzi ahlanzekile; ukunyuka kwamaphasa umatikuletsheni; ukwehla kakhulu kobuhlwempu?

Ezinye zezinto lezi okulokhu kukhulunywa ngazo kumaviki edlule njengoba sekusondela ukhetho langomhlakaMeyi7 eNingizimu Afrika. Kodwa iqiniso langempela kubalulekile ukuthi laziwe. engxenye ngoba ukuqhamuka kwemalio eyasala kwibhajethi okwalandela ukubangcono komnotho emva kwezinkinga kwizimakethe ezifikayo ngonyaka ka1988 kwaholela ukubakhona kwethemba ngokwedlulela kubabhali bemigomo ePitoli, okuhamba kwahamba kwaze kwafika eminyakeni yawo2000.

Ukwenza-nje isibonelo, omunye wabacwaningi ohamba phambili ehovisi likalowo owayengumongameli ngalesosikhathi eNingizimu Afrika, uAlan Hirsch, wathi kumbhalo ocishe ube mude njengencwadi evikela imigomo eqhamuke emva kokuwa kombuso wobandlululo owawubizwa phecelezi ngokuthi , A Season of Hope (okusho ukuthi isikhathi sokuthemba): Phakathi nendawo yindlela yentando yeningi ngezenhlalakahle yokuziqala kabusha – kungumsebenzi kahulumeni ukuthi ubeke emahlombe awo umthwalo wokwenza kangcono izimpilo zabampofu kanye nokwehlisa ukungalingani, kodwa-ke futhi kukhona novalo olugxilile lokuthi kuzothenjelwa kuwona futhi kubhekwe kuwona ukwenza izinto…Indlela uKhongolose enza ngayo ngesinye isikhathi kafuphi –nje kufana njengezindlela lapgo izwe laseNtsonalanga neMpumalanga lenze ngayo mayelana nokuthuthukisa ezenhlalakahle okumbandakanya kanye nezindlela zasemazweni aseAsia zokukhulisa umnotho, ngaphakathi kwezindlela zontamolukhuni zokwenza umnotho wenzwelonke. Lokhu yiyona ndlela yokuhlakanipha uKhongolose enza ngayo.

Uchwepheshe nesifundiswa ngezimpilo zabantu wesikhungo semfundo ephakeme iStanford uJames Ferguson uthi, ukusaba kukaKhongolose ‘kokuzimelela’ kanye nezinye izindlela zokungaziphathi kahle okudalwa ezenhlalakahle akukona-nje ‘ukukhononda kwabantu abamelene nokubuyela emuva ngokuphathwa ngamadoda kanye nokungalingani’ esikhundleni salokho kungumuzwa wokubhekana nomlando wokuqhamuka komhlaba wezenhlalakahle lapho abantu, akade bezwa (ngaphansi kwezikhathi zemibuso yongxiwankulu kanye neminyaka yokuqala yongxiwankulu yezindlela zenhlalakahle) encane kanye nebalulekile, esikhundleni salokho kubonakala kungena kubaluleka, futhi kunensalela.’

Ngapahnsi kwalomqondo, lapho kuzimelele khona yonke imigomo kwizidingo zomnotho hayi emiphakathini, awukho umcabango ophusile kwizinhlelo zenhlalakahle – ngaphandle komshuwalense wezinyanga eziyisithupha zokungasebenzi – kumaphesenti angu35 aya kumaphesenti angu40 wabantu abasakwazi ukusebenza abangakwazi ukuthola umsebenzi oqondile noma bakwazi ukuzidayisela okungabhalisiwe, noma ingasiphi isikhathi.

Masibhekene nalokhu, ukulethwa kwemali yesibonelelo kulokhu kuyingxenye yokukhuluma kukahulumeni wongxiwankulu, njengoba kusho noSusan Booysen, ngoba kuyingxenye yeqembu elibusayo ‘lokuqala kabusha kwezombusazwe…uhulumeni kaKhongolose obusayo uyena oletha izinto, futhi oqinisekisa izibonelelo ukuthi zikhona kanye nezinye izinzuzo. Lokhu kubonwa njengokuthi “uKhongolose wenza kahle”.

Ukubheka ngelinye iso okujulile kwabekwa kahle ngesikhathi senyanga kaApreli ngonyaka ka2014 kukhankasa ungqongqoshe wesishayamthetho waKwazulu-Natal kwezolimo uMeshack Radebe, owaphawula phambi kukamongameli, ‘UZuma unyuse imali yesibonelelo, kodwa kunabantu abantshontsha lemali ngokuvotela maqembu ezombusazwe amelene noKhongolose. Uma useqenjini eliphikisayo, unjengomuntu oza emzini wami, adle ukudla kwami bese eyangithuka,’ futhi kufanele ‘uhlukane nemali yesibonelel.’ (UZuma akazange amqondise kulenkulumo

Kodwa ngaphezulu kokuba ngamalunga okuzimisela, isibonelelo sokubaluleka kwezombusazwe kubonakala kunguhulumeni onozwelo kakhulu ngezibonelelo, ikakhulukazi uma sekuza ekwandisweni sokubhekelela imigomo yezenhlalakahle okungahambisani nendlela egxilile yamazwe ‘asentshonalanga neEurope’ encike ezindleleni zokungadayisi okushiwo ngeokukhulu ukuphazama nguHirsch.

Empeleni, uchwepheshe kwezenhlakahle wesikhungo semfundo ephakeme eOhio State uFranco Barchiesi uphetha ngokuthi ezifundweni ezinzulu ezenziwe, umgomo wezenhlalakahle waseNingizimu Afrika, ubhekene nezinga eliphezulu lokudayisa, okubhekene nokuzimelela kokunikezwa kwezenhlalakahle kanye namazinga okuhla komuntu ngamunye ngamunye ezimaketheni zokusebenza kanye nokusebenza okuholelwayo, esikhundleni salokho ukuxhaswa ngabaqashi noma nguhulumeni.

Ukulethwa kwezenhlalakahle futh kwenziwe kwaba ngasese. Echaza ‘ubuciko bongxiwankulu’ eNingizimu Afrika, ochwepheshe bezomnotho besikhungo semfundo ephakeme yaseWits oNicolas Pons-Vignon kanye noAurelia Segatti bayavumelana ngokuthi, ‘ukulethwa ngqo kwezidingo zokwehlisa ubuphofu, kodwa benza kancane ukubhekana nokungalingani; okunye futhi, benza ngokuzimelelisa ubungxiwankulu, njengoba kade kwenzeka eNingizimu Afrika, njengoba kugqugquzelwa ukulethwa kwezidingo zabantu abampofu ngasese.’

Lokhu kulethwa kwezidingo ngasese ngokujwayelekile kunemiphumela yamahlazo, okuhlanganisa nokukhishwa ngenkohlakalo kwezigidigidi ezingu$1 zokuhambisa izidingo zidlula kwabanye, njengoba usolwazi wezifundo zezindaba esikhungweni semfundo ephakeme eRhodes uJane Duncan aqaphela: “epmeleni ukuthi umsebenzi womphakathi ubekwe ezandleni ezingasese kusho ukuthi ukuvikeleka ngezenhlalakahle kuyogcina kubukeleka phansi njengendlela yokwenza inzuzo. Abampofu baseNingizimu Afrika abazimelele kwisibonelo bavele babe imakethe enkulu kwizimboni ezifuna ukwenza inzuzo. Ngokukhuluma ngokuthi bafuna ukwenza ngokucophelela, iSA Social Security Agency ibeke ukulawulwa kwezinkulungwane ngezinkulungwane zezimpilo zabantu baseNingizimu Afrika ezandleni zezimboni zangasese ezibonakala sengathi zizibhekele ngokuqumbisa amaphakethe azo kunokunakekela izidingo zabampofu nabaswele.’

Njengoba kunengcindezi ebilokhu iqhubeka ngobungxiwankulu, lapho ngisho nongqongqoshe wamanzi uRonnie Kasrils ahluleka ukukwenza ukuzinikela ukuthi akwazi ukugcina ukwenza umgomo wokuletha manzi amahala. ‘Ilungelo lamanzi’ lagcina mhlawumbe lihlaselwe noma ukulethwa kwamanzi ngokwenza-nje, emahala ngamakhilolitha ayisithupha umuzi ngomuzi ngenyanga.

Ukwenza-nje isibonelo, eThekwini – indawo enkulu yaManzi Amahala eyayihlongozwa kuqala ngonyaka ka1998 – ukubiza jikelele kwamanzi kwagcina kubayinani eliphindaphindwe kabili emizini yabantu abampofu ngoba inani elikhulu lanyuka (idolobha lagcina lihezulu kakhulu kubantu baseNingizimu Afrika kuma khilolitha asuka ku6 aya kwangu10 umuzi umunye ngenyanga. Kubantu abampofu, lokhu kwaholela ekunqanyulweni kokusetshenziswa kwamanzi eminyakeni eyalandela eyisithupha, kusukela kumakhilolitha angu22 umizi ngamunye nganyanga kuya ku15. Isimo futhi saba nzima kakhulu emaphandleni, lapho izinkinga ezijulile zavela kwizinhlelo zokulethwa kwamanzi, futhi izizathu eziphambili kulokho kwakungukuhluleka ukumelana nohlelo lwamanzi okwakumbandakanya ukukhokhela okwakungeke kwenzeke.

Ngenyanga kaFebruwari ka2014 ngenkathi ethula Inkulumo Yakhe Yesizwe, uZuma wayeneqholo lokuthi amaphesenti angu95 abantu babewathola amanzi kodwa usuku-nje emva kwenkulumo yakhe, isikhulu sikahulumeni savuma ukuthi u65 kuphela wamaphesenti owawuthola amanzi ahambayo. Lesosibalo sasihlanganisa hayi-nje kuphela amamitha amanzi aqale akhokhelwe obekugcina isikhathi esiningi esenqanyuliwe, kodwa nesibalo esikhulu sabantu abahlala emijondolo lapho besebenzisa khona ompompi abambalwa ukubhekelela izinkulungwane ngezinkulungwane zabahlali; lapho umpompi uba khona kumamitha angu200 yemizi, ukuthi bese kubonakala sengathi bayawathola amanzi noma-ngabe Uhlelo Lokwenza Kabusha kanye neNtuthuko luka1994 (phecelezi iReconstruction and Development Programme) lwalucacile: ‘Maphakathi nendawo, umgomo weRDP kwakungukuletha amalitha aphakathi kwangu50 aya kwangu60 umuntu emunye usuku ngosuku amanzi ahlanzekile kanye nezindawo ezingcono zalapho behlala khona zokuzikhulula.’

Njengomphumela, ukulethwa kwamanzi emizini yaseNingizimu Afrika kuyisibonelo esihle somgomo wezenhlalakahle wokwenzelela emehlweni okwanelisa labo ababusayo, abacebile kanye namanamandla (noma ngabe bakholelwa yini kwezombusazwe). Okungase kwenzeke ukubhekana nokushoda kwamanzi ngamalungelo angempela amanzi amiswa yisinqumo sejaji lenkantolo yomthethosisekelo ngonyaka ka2009, lapho umbhali wenkantolo, iJaji uKate O’Regan, abuyiselwa emuva izikhalo zababebeke icala baseSoweto ngokuphindaphindwa kabili kwamanzi amahala kanye nokwenziwa kwamamitha manzi aqale akhokhelwe ukuba angabi emthethweni ngenxa yokuthi ayabandlulula futhi anomphumela omubi kwezempilo.

Ngokunjalo, ngesikhathi izingcingo eziningi zikagesi zazifakelwa kwizigidi zezindlu okokuqala, amamitha aqale akhokhelwe kaEskom kanye namanani anyukayo (ngaphezulu kwamaphesenti angu150 kusukela ngonyaka ka2008 kuya ku2014) okwaphoqa abampofu ukuthi baphindlele ezindleleni ezingcolile emakhaya zokusebenzisa amalahle, izinkuni kanye nopharafini. Ukuqhubekela phambili kweminyaka emva kokuqumbeka phansi kombuso wobandlululo kwaba yinto edlulayo, ngakho-ke, kwabesifazane ukupheka ngomlilo, futhi kumuntu onesifo sofuba, okwenza masinya kwenze abantu abanegciwane lesandulela ngculaza bagcine sebenengculaza.
Mayelana nezindlu, kwakungekho ukubala okuphelele kwezindlu ezintsha zeRDP – owkakuphambene nomgomo owawulawula iReconstruction and Development Programme, lapho cishe amakota amathathu, cishe anguhafu cishe ngokuthi afinyelele kwizindlu ezazakhiwe ngesikhathi sobandlululo, zazikhiwe ezindaweni lapho abantu babecwaswa ngebala noma ngezinga lomsebenzi emalokishini kude kakhulu nasezindaweni zemisebenzi kanye nezinye izinsiza, futhi kwakhiwe ngemikhiqizo ebhidlika kalula, hayi izitini njengezinsuku zakudala

Ngaphambi kokhetho luka2014, ukukhuluma ngenqubekela phambili kushiwo ngokukhulu ukunganaki. Kusukela kwiNkulumo Yesizwe kaZuma ngo2014: “Izinga labaphumelele kumatikuletsheni linyukile kusukela kunyaka ka2009 ngamaphesenti angu61 kuya kumaphesenti angu78 ngonyaka odlule.’ Akazange avume ukuthi ukuchithwa kwbafundi ezikoleni zamabanga aphezulu kumatikuletsheni kwaba nzima kanjani ukukhuluma ngokwehluleka ngamaphesenti angu50 ngonyaka ka2012, kuphezulu ngamaphesenti angu22 ngonyaka ka2007.

Okuye okukhathazayo okufanayo kufana nokuyekelewa Komshuwalense Wezempilo kaZwelonke yisikhwama sesizwe, okwasekuvunyiwe nguKhongolose emva kwezithembiso zokuqala ngonyaka ka2007 futhi kwavunyelwana ngakho ngokukhulunywa ngo2010, kodwa loluhlelo lalungaxhaswangwa ngemali kumabhajethi alendela. Kafushane-nje, izidingo eziningi zezenhlalakahle kanye nezezwe, kwakungukwenzelela-nje, hayi okweqiniso.

Ukuziphatha okungelona iqiniso kumthetho yiko okube yisivimbo ekwandiseni umgomo ngezenhlalakahle. Ukukwazi kwePitoli ukunakelela izakhamizi zaklo kwehla uma kubhekwene nesibalo sezomnotho, imisebenzi jikelele kahulumeni kwindima yemali yesizwe yayunka ngamaphesenti angu16.2 ngo1994 kuya kumaphesenti angu17.3 ngonyaka ka1998, kodwa kwehla ngamaphesenti angu15.8 ngo2002 nangamaphesenti angu13.7 ngonyaka ka2012. Uma sesibheka indlela yokubuyisela izimali okwaholela ukuhluleka kukahulumeni ukwenza lemisebenzi, uma sesibheka ezinye zezingxenye zemali yesizwe ezibizwa ‘ngogesi, ngesisisi kanye namanzi’ okwehla kancane ngamaphesenti kusukela ku3.5 wamaphesenti kuya kumaphesenti angu2.4 kusukela ngonyaka ka1994 kuya ku2002 kuze kufike kufike ku2012. Ukwehliswa kwezimali kwakungadalwanga ukuqedwa kwenkohlakalo nencithakalo; kodwa ukusebenzisa imali kancane.

Isikweletu esibi kakhulu sesizwe saseNingizimu Afrika sasingaphansi kwamaphesenti angu40 wemali yesizwe, ngaphansi kakhulu kumazwe enza kahle kakhulu njengaseMalaysia, Brazil, Argentina kanye naseThailand ngokusho kombiko weBarclays Capital. Futhi ngokulinganiswa namazwe angamashumi amane kanye nezimakethe ezifufusayo, iOECD yathola ukuthi iNingizimu Afrika yayibalwa emazweni amahlanu asebenzisa kancane izimali emphakathini ngesikali sezimali zesizwe, ngaphandle kwe India, neChina, neMexico kanye neSouth Korea nabo abanonswinyo kakhulu. Izwe laseFrance lasebenzisa izimali zokusiza umphakathi izikhathi ezine mayelana nezenhlalakahle ngemali yesizwe, uma sekuqhathaniswa.

Ukwandisa kwezenhlalakahle kwezwe laseNingizimu Afrika kwakunemigomo engaqhubeki, lapho ukusetshenziswa kwenzimali ngezenhlalakahle akudlulanga kumaphesenti amathathu kwimali yesizwe ngale konyaka ka1994. Njengombiko weFinancial and Fiscal Commission, kusukela ku1983, ukususa izimali zezenhlalakahle kwanyuka kuphela-nje ngo1.8 wamaphesenti kuya ku4.5 wamaphesenti kwimali yesizwe ngeminyaka yo2007.

Isibonelelo esikhulu, Yisibonelelo Sabantu Abadala (OPG), okwakuqhutshekwa lapho kwakugcine khona uhlelo lobandlululo, kodwa ngamazinga amanzi njengoba kwakungu1994, kanye namazinga mancane entela. Lokhu kwandiswa kwakungenasisekelo, kuhulumeni omelene nokubandlululwa ngebala kwezenhlalakahle emva konyaka ka1994. Isizathu esisodwa kwakungukwazi kweSA Social Security Administration ukunciphisa inani leOPG, kusukela kumaphesenti angu72.2 kulaba okwakwenzelwa bona ngonyaka ka1995 kwehle kwafika kumaphesenti angu66.5 ngonyaka ka2007 ngaphambi kokunyuka kancane futhi.

Isizathu esisodwa sokwehla kwemisebenzi kuleyo ebekwe iOPG kwakungukuphikelela zokuhlola zaloluhlelo kwezinye izindlela ngokuqala kwalo ngesikhathi sobandlululo, okuphikisana nezinye izindlela ezaziqalwa ngalesosikhathi emhlabeni jikelele. Okunye okuvelayo mayelana neOPG yaseNingizimu Afrika ‘ukungabhekeleli kwayo’ okufaka ingcindezi kulesisikhathi samanje (kunesidlule) imali yabakhokhi bentela: okungabalulekile ukuthi kube isikhathi esingakanani, noma-ke, lona othola lesisibonelo wake waqashwa ngokufaneleyo. Ngokuphikisayo, emazweni amaningi, ithuba lokukhokhisa abasebenzi intela ngokubhekelela kuyingxenye eme ngokusabalalisa kulabasebenzi abahola izimali ezinkulu futhi abakhokha kakhulu intela, kwezinye izindawo (isibonelo-nje amazwe angamashumi amabili kwangamashumi amabili nesishagalombili acebile kanye nangaphansana kwacebile acwaningwa ngeminyaka yo2000).

Ukuqhubekela phambili kwentela yaseNingizimu Afrika kwehla kakhulu ngaphambi futhi nangemuva kombuso wobandlululo, lokho futhi sibonga umphumela wokunqunywa kwenani lentela kwizinkampani kanye nezinye izindlela ezenza lokho kwaba lula, kanye neValue Added Tax enyuka ngesikhulu isivinini. Ngesikhathi somnyakazo omkhulu wongxiwankulu kanye nenyaknyaka ngezomnotho, kusukela ngonyaka ka1997 kuya kunyak aka2000, kwaba khona ukwehla kakhulu kwenqubekela phambili ngentela ekhokhwa umuntu nomuntu, kodwa okwabuyela emuva kancane ngeminyaka yo2000 ngesikhathi sokuguquka kwezentela – futhi ngesikhathi inzuzo yezinkamani (kanjalo nentela) ikhula kakhulu ngokukhula komnotho okuncane phakathi konyaka ka1999 kuya kunyaka ka2008 – intela yomuntu nomuntu kwakba nenqubekela phambili kancane ngonyaka ka2009 kunonyaka ka1997. Ngonyaka ka2008, iStatsSA yaphawula ukuthi, kuhlanganisa ukukhokhwa kwentela njengoba kubuyekeziwe kwiGini coefficient ‘kwaveza ukuthi azikho izibalo ezibalulekile mayelana nezinga lokungalingani kwabantu’; ngamanye amazwi, inqubekela phambili yentela eNingizimu Afrika, empeleni, kwakungukwezelela.

Ngokuphetha, inhlalakahle kahulumeni waseNingizimu Afrika akuyona-nje into ecatshangwayo ‘ngentando yeningi kwezenhlalakahle’ noma-ke, njengoba uchwepheshe wezenhlalakahle isifundkiswa uJeremy Seekings eke wababaza, ‘baphana ngendlela emangalisayo’. USeekings kanye noNicol Natrass bona babhekelele isimo sangempela: ‘Okuhle okungenziwa ubuningi bezomsebenzi kwezomnotho njengoba kufisa iNingizimu Afrika ukuba nezwe lezenhlalakahle njengaseMelika lapho uhulumeni enikezela ngemali encane kakhulu emiphakathini mayelana nezenhlalakahle.’
Kodwa lokhu ngeke kube ‘okungcono kakhulu’; kuyobe okunganelisi kakhulu, uma sibheka ingcebo yomphakathi, ukuhola phambili ngokungalingani kanye nokwaziwa ngokuhlanganyela ezenhlalakahle kwezobulungiswa. Ngokusho kukaBarchiesi, indlela uhulumeni wongxiwankulu kaKhongolose wahlela imali yesibonelelo sezenhlalakahle ukuthi sibonakale ‘njengokungenelela kwethuba kwezombusazwe. Kunikwa umuntu ngamuntu, esincane ngendlela emangalisayo okungukuthi noma usithola emzini owodwa akunasiqinisekiso sokuphila impilo engabuphofu.’

Ezinye zezinkinga esezibhekiwe kungenzeka zilungiswe-nje: lokhu okwenziwe ngokuhlola okwakusetshenziswa ukucwaswa okwakufika nohulumeni efuna isiqinisekiso samaholo abantu, lapgo futhi izimali ezazithathwa zisabekwe phezu kwabo, ngesinyelela, kulabo ababethola lolusizo kuhulumeni, ukuzama kukahulumeni ukudala imisebenzi akuzangwe kusetshenziswe ngaphandle kwamatoho emisebenzini yemiphakathi: kanti futhi umhlaba kanye nezezindlu akuzange kulethwa kubantu ngesivinini okwakulindeleke ngaso

Kodwa-ke ngombuso kaKhongolose wontamolukhuni okwenziwe ngodlame kanye nezinga lobungxiwankulu elalizimisele ngokungandisi imigomo yezenhlalakahle, kusukela ekwenzeleleni okusemehlweni kuye emigomeni yangempela yezenhlalakahle okungeke kungenzeki, ngaphandle kokuthi kube khona iqembu elinamandla kakhulu lezishoshsovu elingaqhamuka kwezombusazwe elingavumela ukuthi kube khona kakhulu uzwelo kusukwa kuhulumeni wongxiwankulu.



What, really, did the ANC deliver? Tokenistic social policy
Patrick Bond

What has the South African government delivered in 20 years? A massive welfare state with 16 million grant recipients (nearly a third of the population); 95 percent of the people served with clean water access; a rising rate of matriculation by 12th graders; a dramatic reduction in poverty?

These are some of the claims made during the last few weeks as South Africa's May 7 vote neared. But the devils in the details are vital to unpack, partly because the emergence of budget surpluses that followed the economy's recovery from the 1998 emerging markets crisis generated a certain overconfidence amongst policymakers in Pretoria, which lasted throughout the 2000s.

To illustrate, the leading researcher in the SA Presidency at the time, Alan Hirsch, argued in what may be the most substantive, book-length defense of post-apartheid policies, A Season of Hope: [A]t the centre is a social democratic approach to social reform – it is the state’s job to underwrite the improvement in the quality of life of the poor and to reduce inequalities, but with a firmly entrenched fear of the risks of personal dependency on the state and of the emergence of entitlement attitudes... The ANC’s approach is sometimes summarized as elements of a northern European approach to social development combined with elements of Asian approaches to economic growth, within conservative macroeconomic parameters. This remains the intellectual paradigm within which the ANC operates.

For Stanford University anthropologist James Ferguson, the ANC's fear of ‘dependency’ and other alleged anti-social behavioral incentives caused by welfare is not simply a ‘lamentable manifestation of a reactionary and retrograde yearning for paternalism and inequality,’ it is instead ‘an entirely contemporary response to the historically novel emergence of a social world where people, long understood (under both pre-capitalist and early capitalist social systems) as scarce and valuable, have instead become seen as lacking value, and in surplus.’

Under this logic, in which all policy is oriented to the economy’s needs not the society’s, there is no rationale for welfare programmes – aside from a brief six-month period of unemployment insurance – for the 35 to 40 percent of the working-age population who cannot find either formal work or even engage in informal entrepreneurial activity, at any given time.

In this context, social grant provision remains a logical component of a neoliberal state’s policy repertoire, as Susan Booysen argues, because it is a part of the ruling party’s ‘political regeneration… the ANC-in-government is the dispenser, the patron that ensures social grants and other benefits. This is recognised as the “ANC doing good”.’

An extreme version was articulated during April 2014 campaigning by KwaZulu-Natal provincial agriculture minister Meshack Radebe, who remarked in front of the president, ‘Zuma has increased grants, but there are people who are stealing them by voting for opposition parties. If you are in the opposition, you are like a person who comes to my house, eats my food and then insults me,’ and you should ‘stay away from the grants.’ (Zuma did not correct him.)

But more than patronage, the grants offer the political importance of appearing to be a generous social welfare state, especially when tokenistic expansion of social policies stands in contrast to the deeper, genuinely ‘northern European’ approach based on strategies of decommodfication and destratification that Hirsch so erroneously claims.

In reality, Ohio State sociologist Franco Barchiesi concludes in one of the most extensive studies yet undertaken, South African social policy ‘is characterized by a high degree of commodification, intended as the dependence of social provisions and living standards on individual labour market positions and waged employment, rather than on subsidization from either employers or the state.’ Stratification is also amplified through means tests for ‘indigency.’

Welfare delivery is also being privatized. Describing ‘the art of neoliberalism’ in South Africa, Wits economists Nicolas Pons-Vignon and Aurelia Segatti agree that ‘direct transfers can alleviate poverty, but they do little to address inequality; furthermore, they act to entrench neoliberalism if they are associated, as has been the case in South Africa, with encouraging private provision of services to the poor.’

Such private provision regularly results in scandals, including an apparently corrupt $1 billion outsourcing of benefits payments, as Rhodes media studies professor Jane Duncan observes: ‘the very act of placing public functions in private hands means that social security inevitably becomes debased by the profit motive. South Africa's social security-dependent poor are a massive captive market for profit-seeking companies. In the name of efficiency, the SA Social Security Agency has entrusted the administration of millions of South Africans' livelihoods to a private sector that appears to be more concerned about lining its own pockets than serving the poor and vulnerable.’

With this extent of prevailing neoliberal pressures, not even water minister Ronnie Kasrils could fulfill his (heartfelt) commitment to finally implement a free basic water policy. The ‘right to water’ ended up either being sabotaged or delivered in a tokenistic way, free for merely the first 6 kiloliters/household/month (kl/hh/m).

To illustrate, in Durban – the main site of Free Basic Water pilot-exploration starting in 1998 – the overall cost of water ended up doubling for poor households because of a huge price increase in the second block (the city soon had the second-highest price amongst its South African peers for 6-10 kl/hh/m). For poor people, this led to consumption cuts by a third in the subsequent six years, from 22 kl/hh/m to 15. Matters were even worse in rural areas, where extremely serious problems arose in the community water supply projects, and the main reasons for unsustainability of a water system invariably included genuine affordability constraints.

By February 2014 in his State of the Nation Address, Zuma was confident to claim 95 percent of the population had ‘access to water coverage’ but the day after the speech, a government official admitted that only 65 percent contained ‘flowing water’. That figure included not only pre-payment meters which often resulted in self-disconnection, but also countless shack settlements where a dozen taps (or fewer) serve thousands of residents; where a tap exists within 200 meters of households, that qualifies as ‘access’ even though the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme mandate was clear: ‘In the medium term, the RDP aims to provide an on-site supply of 50 - 60 liters per person per day of clean water and improved on-site sanitation.’

As a result, South Africa’s oft-heralded household water supply is a good example of a tokenistic social policy which satisfies those with power, wealth and strong status quo orientations (no matter their declared ideology). The possibilities for countering the inadequate water supply with a genuine right to water were limited by a 2009 Constitutional Court judgment, in which the court’s author, Judge Kate O’Regan, turned down Soweto plaintiffs’ arguments for a doubling of the Free Basic Water supply and the banning of pre-payment meters because of their discriminatory and health-threatening impacts.

Likewise, while electricity wires were installed in millions of housing units for the first time, Eskom’s pre-payment meters and soaring prices (up more than 150 percent from 2008-14) forced poor people back to dirtier household energy like wood, coal and paraffin. Post-apartheid progress was fleeting, therefore, for women cooking over fire, and for anyone with respiratory diseases, which can quickly take people from HIV+ to full-blown AIDS.

As for housing, there was never a proper audit of the new ‘RDP’ units – which in contrast to the Reconstruction and Development Programme mandate, were typically three quarters or even just half as big as apartheid matchboxes, located in race/class-segregated ghettoes even further from jobs and amenities, and built with tissue paper and spit, not bricks and mortar as in the old days.

In the run-up to the 2014 elections, claims of progress were made with wild abandon. From Zuma’s State of the Nation 2014 speech: ‘The matric pass rate has gone up from around 61 percent in 2009 to 78 percent last year.’ Nowhere did he concede that the culling of high school students before matric had broached 50 percent in 2012, up from 22 percent in 2007.

A similar concern applied to the Treasury’s apparent abandonment of National Health Insurance policy, which was approved by the ANC after initial promises in 2007 and in-principle approval in 2010, but the programme was essentially unfunded in subsequent budgets. In short, too many of the social policies and state services were tokenistic, not genuine.

Artificial fiscal discipline remained the overarching constraint to expanding social policy. Pretoria’s capacity to serve its citizenry steadily shrunk in comparison to the size of the economy, for across the terrain of social and public policy, government’s ‘general services’ role in GDP rose from 16.2 percent in 1994 to 17.3 percent in 1998, but fell back to 15.8 percent by 2002 and 13.7 percent in 2012. Reflecting the cost-recovery approach to service delivery and hence the inability of the state to properly roll out and maintain these functions, the category of GDP components termed ‘electricity, gas and water’ fell steadily from 3.5 percent to 2.4 percent to 1.8 percent of GDP from 1994 to 2002 to 2012. The cutbacks were not due to the elimination of fraud and waste; instead, the state was underspending in general, compared to peers.

The 2010 internal gross public debt of South Africa was less than 40 percent of GDP, well below high-performance countries Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina and Thailand, according to Barclays Capital. And in a rating of 40 rich countries and emerging markets, the OECD found that South Africa’s was amongst the five least generous countries in terms of public spending as a ratio of GDP, with only India, China, Mexico and South Korea more stingy. France provided four times as much public social spending per unit of GDP, in contrast.

The South African welfare state’s expansion entailed a fiscal commitment that was actually quite limited, with state social spending never exceeding a 3 percent increase in GDP beyond 1994 levels. As the Financial and Fiscal Commission reported, even dating to 1983, social transfers rose from just 1.8 to 4.5 percent of GDP through 2007.

The largest grant, the Older Persons Grant (OPG), was a direct continuation of the apartheid system, but with lower inflation-adjusted payouts than in 1994, lower coverage rates, and lower tax progressivity. Its expansion was not substantive, not nearly what one would expect from a genuine, non-racial welfare state after 1994. One reason was the ability of the SA Social Security Administration to shrink the OPG coverage rate, from 72.2 percent of the target population in 1995 to a low of 66.5 percent in 2007 before a slight uptick resumed.

One reason for diminishing services to those ostensibly covered by the OPG was the persistence of means-testing dating to the scheme’s origins during apartheid, in contrast to most other systems being developed at the time as universal. Another feature of the South African OPG is its ‘non-contributory’ character, which puts more of the burden on present (than past) tax-payers: it doesn’t matter how long, or whether, a recipient formally worked. In contrast, in many countries, the opportunity to tax workers on a contributory basis is also the basis for more redistribution when higher-paid workers carry a higher tax rate, in some settings (e.g. 20 out of 28 wealthy and middle-income countries surveyed during the 2000s).

South Africa’s overall tax progressivity declined substantially just before and after the end of apartheid, thanks mainly to deep corporate tax cuts and growing loopholes, as well as fast-rising Value Added Tax. During the period of most intense neoliberalism and economic crisis, from 1997-2000, there were steep declines of progressivity within the personal income tax as well, and although these were slightly reversed in the 2000s as tax reform was applied – and once corporate profits (and hence taxes) recovered strongly in the 1999-2008 mini-boom – the personal income tax was still less progressive in 2009 than in 1997. In 2008, StatsSA remarked, including taxation in a revised Gini coefficient ‘reveals no statistically significant impact on inequality’; in other words, South African tax progressivity was, in reality, tokenistic.

In sum, South Africa’s welfare state is by no stretch of the imagination ‘social democratic’ or, as Cape Town sociologist Jeremy Seekings has claimed, ‘exceptionally generous.’ Seekings and Nicoli Nattrass advocate a reality check: ‘The best that a labour surplus economy such as SA can aspire to is an American-style welfare state regime with a very inegalitarian labour market, where the state provides minimal and stringently means-tested public welfare.’

But this would be not ‘best’; it would be terribly unsatisfactory, given the society’s wealth, world-leading inequality and record of social mobilization against injustice. According to Barchiesi, the way the neoliberal ANC government arranged social grants should be understood ‘as a specific biopolitical intervention. Taken individually, they are in fact so meagre that even receiving more than one in a single household is no guarantee of a life out of poverty.’

Some of the problems we have reviewed could ostensibly be fixed: means-testing was utilized with the inevitable stigmatization that comes with a state demanding proof of poor people’s income; cost-recovery strategies were still being imposed, by stealth, on recipients of state services; the state’s potentially vast job-creating capacity was never utilized aside from a few short-term public works activities; and land and housing were not delivered at appropriate rates.

But with a relatively conservative ANC government and a bellicose liberal (essentially right-wing) capitalist class intent on drawing the limits on social policy, moving from tokenism to genuine social policy is not likely, unless a powerful leftist force emerges in the political realm that compels much more generosity from the neoliberal state.

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