ANC’s radical economic transformation: A tantalising mirage?

  • N.S. Mathonsi
  • S.L. Sithole


The ANC has been deeply entrenched in neoliberalism since its abandonment of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Its macro-economic policies from Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR), Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) and the National Development Plan (NDP) are evidence of this neoliberal character. Besides, the divisions and factions within the party reflect inter alia ideological tension. Evidently, the breakaway of alliance partners such as the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) from  Congress of South African Unions (COSATU) and the eventual launch of the new trade union federation, South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) are signs of a shifting political landscape in South Africa. The clarion call for (obscure) radical economic transformation is tantamount to putting old wine in new bottles, a continuation of the ruling party’s quirk of plan right and talking left. This paper hopes to provide more evidence of the ruling party’s ideological conundrum and loss of popularity brought about by a sharp turn to the right in the face of a bellowing sea of  neoliberalism. The macroeconomic strategic shifts that occurred in South Africa are discussed to demonstrate the shift from the Growth  Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy in 1996 to the National Development Play (NDP) in 2011. Radical theories are used to buttress the paper’s thesis.


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eISSN: 1596-9231