For reasons that have to do with our past, the relationship between business and government in SA has broadly taken three different forms since the dawn of democracy in 1994. During the Nelson Mandela years, business was an enthusiastic partner that was immensely relieved that the country had made a peaceful transition from the period when SA was ostracised as an international pariah and had to contend with punitive economic sanctions. Generally, therefore, business fell over itself to work with the Mandela government in an effort to redress some of the wrongs of the past. All Madiba had to do was pick up the phone and dial the numbers of the captains of industry to get significant contributions made or pledged towards the construction of schools and clinics, for instance. During the Thabo Mbeki presidency, strains appeared in the relationship for the first time. This followed the Mbeki government’s emphasis on transformation in general and black economic empowerment (BEE) in partic...

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