Shadow of Liberation
Contestation and Compromise in the Economic and Social Policy of the African National Congress, 1943-1996
Published by: Wits University Press
Shadow of Liberation explores the intricate twists, turns, contestations and compromises of ANC economic and social policymaking with a focus on the transition era of the 1990’s and the early years of democracy.
With the damning revelations by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on the massive corruption of the South African body politic, the timing of this book could not be more relevant. South Africans need to confront the economic and social policy choices that the liberation movement made and to see how these decisions may have facilitated the conditions for corruption to emerge and flourish. Answers are needed. Padayachee and van Niekerk focus their attention on the primary question of how and why the ANC, given its historical anti-inequality, re-distributive stance, come in the 1990s, to such a dramatic turn around and move towards an essentially market-dominated approach. Were they pushed or did they go willingly? What role if any did Western governments and international financial institutions play? And what of the role of the late apartheid state and South African business? Did leaders and comrades ‘sell out’ the ANC’s emancipatory policy vision? Shadow of Liberation tries to provide answers to these questions drawing on the best available primary archival evidence as well as extensive interviews with key protagonists across the political, non-government and business spectrum. The authors argue that the ANC’s emancipatory policy agenda was broadly to establish a social democratic welfare state upholding rights of social citizenship. However its economic policy framework to realise this emancipatory mission was either non-existent or egregiously misguided.
"When the prospect of a negotiated settlement came onto the political agenda in the 1980s, one outcome of policy discussions within the ANC was the birth of the Macro Economic Research Group (MERG). This book provides the first comprehensive account of what became of MERG, once considered the ANC’s ‘trickle up’ economic plan, and sheds interesting light on a chapter of our recent history that is often forgotten." ~Z. Pallo Jordan, head of ANC’s Department of Information and Publicity from 1987, cabinet minister 1994–2009, and a member of National Executive Committee of the African National Congress until 2014.
"This book seeks to answer the question of what happened between 1990 and 1996, years during which the ANC abandoned its earlier advocacy of a social democratic welfare state to embrace instead ‘market driven’ neo-liberalism. Padayachee and Van Niekerk’s achievement in researching this story from the surviving archival materials as well as the recollections of participants is impressive. Combining fine scholarship with vivid narrative, this is an economist’s detective story." ~Tom Lodge, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Limerick