Black economic empowerment in post-1994 South Africa: ANC curse and/or socialist/communist covenant?

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After more than 21 years under the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC), post-1994 South Africa finds itself yet again embroiled in race-related politics. Government policies such as black economic empowerment (BEE) and employment equity (EE) have not brought about the economic growth, social development and political democracy that the late former President Nelson Mandela had envisaged and what the ANC had promised to all the people of South Africa. South Africa is currently disengaging itself from the West including the Unites States of America (USA) and certain European Union (EU) countries and appears to rather embrace and align itself with countries such as Russia and China that pursue socialist and communist ideologies. Both these two issues may have a profound impact on how businesses will be managed in the future. In an exploratory, qualitative study using a “5 Star” research methodology, the direct and indirect impacts of BEE policies were investigated and the possible movement in South Africa’s ideological stance was explored. BEE does not appear to have helped to bring about high economic growth to help to reduce unemployment and eradicate the high levels of poverty and inequality, and government graft and corruption have increased at all levels of government, including local municipalities. BEE appears to have become the ANC’s curse to economic, social and political progress and should be scrapped. A national debate should follow on whether the ANC’s current covenant with pro-socialism and pro-communism rather than Western free-market capitalism is the appropriate ideology for South Africa to pursue.

Keywords: black economic empowerment (BEE), employment equity (EE), African National Congress (ANC), capitalism, socialism, communism.
JEL Classification: M14, M21

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