Government, globalisation and business : the case of South Africa

Willson, Marion (2003-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This case study examines the implications of globalisation for business-government relations in South Africa since 1990. The study proposes that business, bolstered by globalisation, is increasingly gaining influence in the policy process of South Africa. The unfolding era of neo-liberalism has ushered in an enormous surge in the power of capital and a decline in the organization and influence of labour. This surge in relative power has allowed the South African business community, to impose its own discipline on government and to narrow the sphere of public decisions. Fear ofloss of competitiveness, in attracting capital, both domestic and international, has forced government to make their policies increasingly capital-friendly rather than responding to popular will or broad social interest. The study establishes the features of globalisation and South Africa's position within this process through an analysis of the relationship between the ANC and business that developed in South Africa between 1990 and 1994, and later facilitated the ANC's acceptance of a neo-liberal macroeconomic strategy in 1996. By analysing; firstly, the influence of business within the policy-making process since 1996, and secondly, the influence of business in the outcomes of government's black economic empowerment strategy, the study shows that business has attempted to optimise its position vis-a-vis the currents of globalisation. The study concludes that the working partnership between business and government, established in terms of the BEE strategy is based on the mutual need of each other, as both government and business face the brutal capriciousness of foreign investment, the major challenge posed by globalisation. The South African business community is however in a unique position with respect to South Africa's ongoing transformation. Within the post-apartheid context, and South Africa's reconfigured power equation between government and business, globalisation would appear to give corporate South Africa added leverage over its rival social partners in the tug-of-war over the terms of development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie gevalle-studie bestudeer die implikasies van globalisasie vir besigheidregering verhoudings in Suid-Afrika vanaf 1990. Die studie stel voor dat besigheid, aangehelp deur globalisasie, toenemend invloed verkry in die beleidsproses in Suid- Afrika. Die nuwe era van neo-liberalisme het 'n groot toevloei in die mag van kapitaal binne gesien en 'n afname in die organisasie en invloed van arbeid. Die beweging van relatiewe mag het die Suid-Afrikaanse besigheids-gemeenskap toegelaat om sy eie dissipline op die regering op te lê, en om die sfeer van openbare besluite te vernou. Die vrees van verlies van mededinging in die aantrekking van kapitaal, beide plaaslik en internasionaal, het die regering gedwing om hul beleide toenemend kapitaalvriendelik te maak, eerder as om te reageer op populêre wilskrag of breë sosiale belang. Die studie bevestig die kenmerke van globalisasie sowel as Suid-Afrika se posisie in hierdie proses. Dit word bepaal deur 'n analise van die verhouding tussen die ANC en ondernemings wat tussen 1990 en 1994 in Suid-Afrika ontwikkel het en later deur die ANC se aanvaarding van 'n neo-liberale makro-ekonomies strategie in 1996, gefasiliteer is. Deur eerste die invloed van besigheid binne die beleidmakings-proses vanaf 1996 te analiseer en tweedens te kyk na die invloed van besigheid in die uitkoms van die regering se swart ekonomiese bemagtings strategie (BEE) wys die studie dat besigheid probeer het om sy posisie deur die vloei van globalisasie te optimiseer. Die studie sluit af met die erkende vennootskap tussen besighede en die regering. Hierdie vernootskap is gevestig op die terme van die BEE strategie, wat gebasseer is op wedersydse belang, want beide die regering en besighede staar die brutale wispelturigheid van buitelandse belegging in die gesig. Hierdie groot uitdaging word deur globalisasie voortgebring. Die Suid-Afrikaanse besigheidsgemeentskap is in 'n unieke posisie, in die sin van Suid-Afrika se voortgaande transformasie. Binne die post-apartheid konteks en Suid-Afrika se hergestruktueerde mags verhouding tussen die regering en besighede, wil dit voorkom asof globalisasie die besigheids-sfeer van Suid-Afrika 'n toename van mag oor sy mededingende sosiale vennote te gee, in die konflik oor die terme van ontwikkeling.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53443
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