The impact of politics on the economy
What is "politics" and what is the "economy"?
The American political scientist Harold Lasswell famously said: "Politics is who gets what, when, and how." The economy is the wealth and resources of a country in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services, and the distribution of those goods and services. Politics during the Mandela presidency were dominated by Black/White racial issues, and to a lesser extent the conflict between the ANC and the IFP. The political parties shared many of the same ideas, but had little love or respect for each other. Mandela's statesmanship played a large role in limiting the harmful effect of such negativity on the economy. He lived up to the following quote from his statement at his inauguration as President: "The time for the healing of the wounds has come.
The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come."
As is the case in general, the impact of politics on the economy was considerably less than the impact of the policy decisions of the Government on the economy.
The policy decisions by the Government
South Africa was politically isolated, and the main international level policy decision was that South Africa must re-enter the family of nations as soon as possible. At home, the Mandela Government faced serious economic challenges, including lack of economic growth, high and rising unemployment, high inequality between and within the different race groups, and widespread poverty. In 1994 the ANC and its alliance partners adopted a socio-economic policy framework called the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). The five key programmes of the RDP are:
• Meeting basic needs, such as employment, housing and health care • Developing our human resources, such as Education and training • Democratising the state and society
• Building the economy
• Implementing the RDP
The Growth, Employment and Redistribution...
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