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Publication Details

Reference
Freund, Bill  (2006) South Africa: A Developmental State?. Centre for Civil Society Colloquium on the Economy, Society and Nature: 1-7.

Summary
In a series of short articles, I have tried to suggest new ways of characterising contemporary post-apartheid South Africa. I would describe these at the moment as work in progress and this talk is intended as a continuation of those efforts. A starting point for me has been dissatisfaction at describing the ANC and its administration in terms of negatives. It clearly is not a socialist organisation, it is not suffused with the concerns with the RDP, its central concern is not poverty or inequality in South Africa but what then is it? Historically I would emphasise the centrality of united African nationalism transcending tribal or class distinctions as its main unifying thread. Its success in promoting that ensures overwhelming electoral success despite a variety of dissatisfactions. Favouring the “previously disadvantaged” as a totality is a central strategy: recovering the dignity of the black man (and in recent discourse, woman) and his empowerment as the dominant force in the country is absolutely central: it is hard to imagine a supporter of the ANC who is not committed to that goal getting anywhere. Other discourses such as inclusive non-racialism of citizenship and the alleviation of poor living conditions are not unimportant, one could say even critical parts of the total picture, but they are certainly secondary.

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