A dysfunctional relationship between business and government – both very far from being unified entities with coherent world views and policies – is one of the reasons why South Africa’s economy continues to perform sub-optimally. South Africa’s history, most notably apartheid and race, have ensured that the kind of cultural homogeneity and shared world views and goals, which have underpinned other successful societies, have never characterised the government/business relationship in South Africa. Clearly relationships have ebbed and flowed over time for a variety of reasons and I propose to analyse and trace the relationship over the past 30 years and to highlight the themes still relevant today. I have divided the analysis into five eras that correspond with major ebbs and flows in the relationship: 1 The apartheid era and specifically the late 1980s 2 The 1990 – 1994 transitional era 3 The first decade of democracy: the Mandela and first Mbeki presidency 4 The second Mbeki ter...

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