MODULE 2: The economic context: engaged realism or conscious retreat?


  1. Department of Finance, Republic of South Africa (1996), Growth, Employment and Redistribution: A Macroeconomic Strategy [main text – 22 pages, not appendices]
  2. Congress of South African Trade Unions (1996), ‘Introduction’ in Social Equity and Job Creation: A key to a Stable Future, Proposals from the South African Labour Movement
  3. Ben Fine (1995), ‘Privatisation and the RDP: A Critical Assessment’, Transformation, No.27
  4. Dale T. McKinley (1997), ‘Sounding the retreat: the left and the macro-economic battle in South Africa’, LINKS, No. 8 (July-October)


  1. What are the key fundamentals (policy components) of GEAR and why are they problematic for the workers and poor?
  1. What does COSATU argue should be the main pillars in the struggle for social equity? Based on those pillars, what in your opinion is the biggest socio-economic problem in South Africa?
  1. Why do you think the ANC embraced/accepted privatisation as one of its most crucial policy tools from the mid-1990s onwards?
  1. Why do you think left/progressive forces in South Africa (for example, unions and the SACP) were unable to stop the ANC/ government from pursuing neoliberal economic policies in the 1990s?