Nelson Mandela and his team, along with global pressure, may have succeeded in hastening the end of apartheid – but did class ‘apartheid’ replace racial apartheid in one of the most unequal societies in the world?
Was the radical Mandela brand “coopted” in the elite-managed transition of the economy to protect the interests of Big Capital? Read John Hilley’s take on the subject on the Aliran website.
In a sense it is perhaps understandable that some politicians outside South Africa can identify with the ANC cause. In South Africa, “The emergence of a new generation of black economically empowered (BEE) politicians has firmly embedded the ANC in patronage politics, state-led class formation and widespread corruption,” according to one commentator. Sound familiar?
Interestingly enough, South Africa’s first privatisation involved the sale of a 30 per cent stake in the country’s telecommunications outfit to an American-Malaysian consortium for US$1.3bn in 1997.
The consortium comprised SBC Communications Inc, in San Antonio (Texas) and Telekom Malaysia Bhd. “SBC, which is the corporate parent of Southwestern Bell will pay 60% of the purchase price, and Telekom Malaysia the remaining 40%.” We didn’t hear much about it at the time.
With that South Africa embarked on its privatisation and neoliberal policy with earnest.
What prompted the apartheid regime to begin talks with the ANC? Did the momentum for political transition and negotiations get an extra impetus following the debt crisis in Johannesburg in 1985? Was de Klerk mainly concerned about rescuing capitalism in South Africa with the help of the “moderates” in the ANC? How did the UK and the USA turn from staunch supporters of the apartheid regime to ‘enlightened’ facilitators of a new democratic order in South Africa?