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After more than 20 years of interaction at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), relations between the government, business and labour have become even more complicated than they were at the outset, when the corporatism experiment was initiated. Rather than a consolidation of interests and a maturity through institutionalised norms and practices, what we have is an ever greater splintering of interests as the constituencies internally diverge in the fraught political environment. The perpetual conflict between Business Unity SA (Busa) and the Black Business Council (BBC) is a symptom of this divergence. Unable to accommodate it any longer, Busa — which is the official Nedlac convener and representative — recently gave BBC its marching orders, saying it could no longer accommodate it under the Busa banner. This means the BBC loses its seat at the Nedlac table. The divergence is not surprising. While the BBC does have an array of big corporate members who are ...

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