The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of Apartheid

By P. Eric Louw | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
The Emerging
Postapartheid Society

In the 1980s, the African National Congress (ANC) and the National Party (NP) fought each other to a draw. The subsequent negotiations also produced an indeterminate outcome because it was based upon a balance of power requiring that all parties make substantive concessions. The 1990s settlement ultimately represented a compromise between three elites—the NP and ANC leaderships, plus the corporate sector.1 It was a reformist deal originally conceptualized by the NP as an “elite pacting” exercise (i.e., building a consociational “grand coalition,” where each elite “delivered” their constituency).

At heart, the negotiations were built upon a shared NP/corporatesector need to find black partners able to end the political turmoil and violence that had taken hold during the 1980s. During the 1970s, the Urban Foundation/UF (corporate sector) proposed that the solution lay in building an urban black middle class with a vested interest in stabilizing capitalism. The UF had converted Botha to this vision,2 thereby helping to kick-start his 1980s reforms. By 1989, it was clear that Botha had failed to find black political partners for his reform program, so de Klerk decided to try and co-opt “ANC-moderates” into a reformist deal on the assumption only they could control the Charterist Left and township youth.3 De Klerk’s reform plan involved securing three components— consociational democracy, neoliberal economics, and corporatism. The latter two were spelled out in the NP’s 1993 Normative Economic Model (NEM).4 Although the NP failed to secure its consociational model, it did secure neoliberalism, in addition to substantive elements of corporatism. However, the neoliberal success was due more to corporate-sector efforts

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