Woes of privatisation in South Africa

Linked with Mandisi Majavu – South Africa.

Published on Zmag, by Mandisi Majavu, November 10, 2007. (Originally published in Business Daily Africa, 28-September-2007).

2 excerpts: Economic policies that endorse the privatisation of everything we hold dear do not create economic opportunities for the majority of people in South Africa. In fact , such policies exacerbate inequality and social injustice. An economic system that is inherently designed to create inequality by favouring the wealthy over the poor cannot be expected to create fair economic opportunities for all. To expect such a system to operate differently is wishful thinking.

The poor know this, and that is why they are up in revolt in places such as Joe Slovo, Mandela Park and Soweto. Social movements in this country exist to oppose a despicable system, an appalling and ugly system, to paraphrase Keynes …

… Post-colonial thinkers have yet to conceptualise a liberatory State structure that does not facilitate a mere replacement of the old colonial ruling class with the new post-colonial ruling elite. We have yet to come up with a political and economic vision of life after colonialism. In many post-colonial countries, economic life became slightly different in the sense that the ownership of work places and resource was transferred from the hands of colonial masters to the hands of a new black elite.


Old bosses were chased away, but new bosses emerged. The same pattern can be seen taking shape in post-apartheid South Africa. The advantages of a participatory economy are what Parecon values as diversity. Instead of the State or the elite making decisions regarding production and consumption, workers’ councils and neighbourhood councils will decide what is good for society.

Majavu is a postgraduate student at the University of Cape Town. (full text).

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