Research & Policy Brief

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Research and Policy Brief: Five Bills Building State and Union Power - 8th February 2011.

The Cabinet used the festive season to unveil five new bills: four on labour, one on land. All five supposedly aim to help the poor, but their predictable effect will be to worsen unemployment and build dependence on the State. Apart from the controversial Protection of Information Bill, these five bills are the first major legislative intervention by President Jacob Zuma’s administration. They bode ill for South Africa, as the Institute’s in-house legal expert, Dr Anthea Jeffery, explained at a briefing in Johannesburg on 8th February 2011.

Research and Policy Brief: Residential property ownership in Gauteng - 10th December 2010.

Property ownership is a key part of any free and open society. Property is also a source of income, equity, and savings for many households. Yet available data suggests that relatively few households in Gauteng, even those earning relatively high salaries, may ever come to finance and own their own home. This paper produces a rough estimate of how many households in Gauteng can afford to finance and therefore own residential property.

Research and Policy Brief: The Case for South Africa - 29th November 2010.

Recent months have seen an increasing number of people question the political and economic trajectory of our country. Once silent parties, such as organized business and the black middle classes, have come to display a new openness in echoing concerns that were previously the preserve of a handful of ‘conservative’ opinion makers in the country. Even the media, which had long been the Government’s handmaiden on introducing ever more interventionist policy and regulation into almost every facet of our country, has become a great deal more critical. In the international community once liberal opinion has turned against the ruling African National Congress. It is now common to hear senior diplomats and executives of multinational firms express grave concerns about our future. Today the ANCs own allies talk about having to save the country from a ‘crisis’. However a case can still be made, and now more than ever needs to be made, that despite our many challenges the future of our country is not as bleak as many are making it out to be.

Research and Policy Brief: Unemployment's Statistical Illusion - 17th November 2010

Unemployment remains a central obstacle to South Africa’s attaining the ANC’s 1994 promise of a ‘better life for all’. The current rate of unemployment is officially recorded at approximately 25%. This is significantly higher than that of almost any other comparable developing economy. Among young black African South Africans the figure now climbs to over 50%. Generating an environment to boost employment therefore remains a major policy priority for the Government as evidenced by the recently announced “new growth plan” and its target to create five million net new jobs over the next decade. Yet boosting levels of employment may perversely require a rise in unemployment before employment levels are able to show any substantial future growth.

Research and Policy Brief: Government should privatise land reform - 2nd November 2010

The leaked green paper on land reform proposes a new policy to drive down land prices through new taxes, land holding restrictions, watered down land rights, capped land prices, and below market value expropriation. These radical proposals may have caused enough consternation within the Government to explain why it has missed its own deadlines in releasing the green paper. Hopefully there are some in Government who are cautioning about the risks of declining food production and rising food prices, which must surely follow the implementation of the new proposals. This is especially so in an environment that has already seen 90% of farming enterprises handed to black South Africans cease production and/or collapse. Against this background, the Government should perhaps consider something even more radical - privatising its land reform campaign.

Research and Policy Brief: Not just another BRIC in the wall - 14th October 2010

Emerging markets continue to feature prominently in global economic discussions on the back of perceived economic weaknesses in both the United Sates and the European Union. Perhaps the most prominent bloc of emerging markets is that made up of Brazil, Russia, India, and China - commonly referred to as BRIC. South Africa has long been wooing the four BRIC partners to be admitted to this very prominent club of emerging economies. Jacob Zuma has visited each BRIC partner since assuming South Africa’s presidency and admission to BRIC might be regarded as the central pillar of South African foreign policy under the Zuma administration. But does South Africa belong in this exclusive, if informal, club? This article looks at ten economic and living standards indicators in an attempt to find out.

Research and Policy Brief: South Africa 2010 - Frequently Asked Questions. 30th September 2010.

The Institute delivers a range of briefings and scenario planning sessions to its subscribers. These are often followed by long question and answer sessions. Most of the briefings are delivered to groups involved in business and with significant investments in South Africa. We have also met with approximately 50 senior business leaders over the last six months. In this article we have written up the most common questions put to us over those six months together with our abbreviated answers.

Much progress in the 'transformation' of higher education - 20th September 2010.

New data to be published by the South African Institute of Race Relations shows that the transformation of higher education in South Africa over the past 20 years has been far more successful than commonly acknowledged. The data challenges the conception that higher education institutions in the country have resisted ‘transformation’ and that action needs to be taken against university leaders to make them ‘transform’. Rather, the data suggests that it is the Government which now retards the creation of new opportunities for previously disadvantaged groups to get a university education.

Research and Policy Brief: Fifty-year review of matric results - 10th September 2010

Much has been said about the quality of schooling in South Africa. One debate that has continued to make the headlines is whether the school system of today is any better than that under apartheid. A number of commentators have charged that the public education system of today is no better than that of Bantu education. Others have responded that such a comparison is ridiculous. Some have pointed out that this debate even taking place points to a deep malaise in our public school system.

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