Research & Policy Brief

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Research and Policy Brief: NDR: the cornerstone of any policy analysis of South Africa - 27th August 2010

The current public service strike has brought to the fore the bitter nature of the power struggle at play in the ruling ANC/SACP/COSATU alliance. Our current assessment is that factions in the alliance, perhaps led by the ANC Youth League, are preparing to execute a political coup at the ANC’s 2012 conference in Bloemfontein. At its most serious this political shift may include the axing of Jacob Zuma and his forced resignation as president of South Africa. At the very least infighting ahead of the 2012 conference will continue to destabilize the alliance. This will have the effect of destabilizing the broader policy environment in the country and therefore causing a rise in levels of uncertainty about the future of the country. It is our assessment that it is only possible to make sense of the policy environment in South Africa by understanding the ANC’s concept of a National Democratic Revolution (NDR). The NDR is poorly understood in South Africa but it serves as the philosophical and ideological grounding of the ANC. Its origins, its importance after 1994, its consequences, and the countervailing forces acting against it are reviewed in the abridged analysis below.

Research and Policy Brief: The Totalitarian Risk - 17th August 2010

Recent weeks have seen much dismay around the behavior of South Africa’s government. For it has tabled legislation to restrict access to government information, publicly endorsed a proposed media tribunal answerable to the ANC-dominated Parliament, detained a journalist, and snatched mining rights from two companies. Taken on a case by case basis these developments have done much damage to the reputation of the country. Taken as a whole they suggest that South Africa is beginning to display some of the early attributes of a totalitarian regime.

SAIRR Today: Income track record shows roadmap for the future - 30th July 2010

The Institute’s South Africa Survey for 2009/10 is in the final stages of editing and will be published over coming weeks. In the run-up to its publication, this column is going to review a number of highlights from the forthcoming Survey. This week we focus on a fifty year review of per capita disposable income levels for South Africa.

SAIRR Today: Denialism all over again - 19th July 2010

It is odd that just two weeks after the country was taken over by Ghana-mania, reports of xenophobic attacks against immigrants from other African countries are making the headlines. How could the feeling that ‘we are all Africans’ vanish so quickly? Perhaps in the dazzle of the international spotlight and being swept away by the celebratory mood it was natural for South Africans to show allegiance to their continent, but the underlying factors that explained the xenophobic attacks in 2008 - and since - have not changed.

SAIRR Today: Why some schools work - 16th July 2010

The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs. Angie Motshekga, has received much praise after announcing reforms to the Outcomes Based Education curriculum. However, the impact of the reforms will now be dependent mainly on the ability of the department to effectively manage and resource under-performing schools.

SAIRR Today: How down-under came out on top - 9th July 2010

The Department of Minerals and Energy has missed a rare opportunity to reposition South Africa’s mining industry and attract new investment into that industry. It could learn much from how the Australian government recently responded to that country’s ‘mining tax crisis’.

SAIRR Today: ‘New thinking’ needs to challenge policy and racial holy-cows - 1st July 2010

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has said that South Africa needs ‘new thinking’ on jobs and growth. This comes after StatsSA released data last week which showed that formal employment in South Africa declined by close on 3% over a period that saw the economy grow by 1.6%. As Business Day pointed out, this was not ‘jobless growth’ but ‘job shedding growth’. It remains to be seen what Mr Gordhan’s ‘new thinking’ may be, but it may be a good time to consider how South Africa measures up against some of the attributes of successful free market economies.

SAIRR Today: Is hosting the World Cup worth it? - 18th June 2010

South Africa is in the midst of hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and it is set to cost the country money that could have been spent on other projects. Will the long-term cost of hosting the Football World Cup be worth it, or should the country have rather spent the money on tackling the many social and economic ills facing the country?

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