JONNY STEINBERG: Deindustrialisation plays into the hands of state capture
It is directly from the political economy of deindustrialisation that the ANC became a corrupted patronage machine
Why has the South African state been captured? There are no doubt many causes, but about one in particular we have been much too silent: the failure of public policy during the first decade-and-a-half of democracy. The country the ANC inherited was deindustrialising. From the mid-1970s, SA had been haemorrhaging jobs and successive apartheid governments seemed unable or unwilling to staunch the flow. The most urgent and difficult task the ANC inherited was to reverse labour market decline. Whether an alternative set of policies would have performed any better is open to question, but the ANC’s project to halt deindustrialisation failed. Indeed, under its rule, the process only quickened. The light manufacturing industries that had once been propped up by state subsidies were thrown open to international competition and floundered. Agriculture, too, faced upheaval, partly because of rapid liberalisation, partly because its system of labour relations could not survive democracy. Havin...