Lack of Cohesion in South African Government, Society Impedes Development
The Millenium Project South African Node< (MPSAN) contains a section on the lack of cohesion within governments in South Africa and how that impedes development:
“[An opinion piece on] South African government policy and programmes in a growing number of areas [states they are] becoming ‘something of a minefield’ – full of contradictions, ambiguities and confusion which fuel harmful uncertainty. ‘Leadership issues, factional struggles, cadre deployment and ideological disarray leave a complicated – and, for the business community, often dangerous –political landscape to negotiate.’
It is still unclear to what extent cooperation exists between the various departments - Treasury, Trade & Industry, Economic Development and the presidency's planning commission.”
The journal also contains an example of competing forces within a government, though the publication does not explicitly link it to the trend:
“South Africa is experiencing a fractious contestation of economic policy, with the finance ministry already having expressed its opposition to intervention to depress the rand, and pro-inflation targeting. Nedbank's chief economist, Dennis Dykes, said the government appears to be implementing a two-track economic policy with no clear indication of how the two new economic ministries – [Ebrahim] Patel's economic development department and Trevor Manuel's National Planning Commissions (NPC) - would co-ordinate their work.
Minister Patel has denied any turf battles over economic policy between himself and other cabinet ministers as opposition parties questioned his department’s overlapping mandate… Patel stressed that policy making was not his exclusive domain, but the responsibility of the cabinet… his department expects to finalise proposals for small business funding by November, and raise R2b for business financing. He also reiterated controversial plans to deduct 5% from pension funds to finance development projects in a bid to boost employment.”
The opinion piece that MPSAN cites says the following:
“In the absence of a central, overriding and binding political philosophy or ideology, the linked strategies of presenting the African National Congress over many decades as a “broad church” of many diverse groups; and the communist-driven, two-phased revolutionary strategy that the ANC expediently adopted during the liberation struggle, have both come back to bite the hand that fed them.”
The piece gives a number of examples of such disagreements within the government.
- Director-general of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Thozi Gwanya, pushed to nationalize all productive farm land as national asset, while the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti tried to assure farmers there will not be any nationalisation of their land.
- The Arts and Culture Minister ,Lulu Xingwana, stormed out of an art exhibition because of its homo-erotic (but not pornographic) content, while insiders in her department objected anonymously, saying their job is not to judge and denounce art, but to facilitate, guarantee its practice and promote it.
- A rift between Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge and his deputy minister, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, is dividing senior officials and threatening the government’s multibillion-rand infrastructure development and job creation programmes.
Implications from IFTF:
Revolutions defined by a rejection of a government, ideology, or social system can find themselves in trouble when they have toppled what they stood against and must form a consensus on what they stand for. Looking at the challenges facing South African nations can inform countries that have recently liberated themselves from repressive regimes.
Sources:The Millenium Project, South African Node, March 2010, page 3-4:
Leadership Magazine, March 23, 2010