‘WHITE MONOPOLY CAPITAL’
NEVA MAKGETLA: Transformation faces ownership hydra
‘Economic power in SA is no longer simply vested in individuals. Pushing to identify and replace individual plutocrats won’t do much to make the economy more equitable or to tackle mass joblessness’
In an early Soviet poster, Lenin strides the globe with a broom, sweeping away kings, priests and capitalists — the latter in top hats and tails and clutching a bag of gold. The white monopoly capital meme seems to foresee the same kind of easy ending: if a few billionaires are replaced with better individuals, all will be well. Most of the dominant South African companies no longer have an individual owner calling the shots. Many family-owned conglomerates of the 1980s have been replaced by a complex web of institutional ownership, driven largely by ballooning retirement investments. Who Owns Whom has an instructive analysis of the profound changes in the patterns of ownership on the JSE since 1994. It finds a dramatic decline in conglomerate control and an increase in the share of foreign and domestic institutional investors — mostly asset managers and similar agencies that aggregate individual and company savings.Who Owns Whom concludes the share in the JSE’s market capitalisatio...