On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
HOOGENRAAD-VERMAAK, Salomon and VERHOEF, Grietjie. The role of the South African business community regarding political mobilisation in the run-up to a new South Africa, 1980-1992. Historia [online]. 2010, vol.55, n.2, pp. 204-225. ISSN 2309-8392.
The erosion of apartheid as political policy, a weakening economy, fear for a revolution and stronger cohesion within the business community caused the white business community to unite across cultural and racial divides to protect their interests. The Rubicon speech of 1985 acted as a trigger for business to embrace a political role. The CBM was established and business started to mobilise openly against apartheid. Black business supported this mobilisation, as they had an interest in a free market economy and a negotiated political settlement. The white business community influenced government to keep political reform on the agenda. This influence was substantial, given the importance of the white business community in stabilising politics. Within the CBM, debate about the economy was shaped around identifying practical problems as to bar the adoption of solutions based on ideology. By adopting a bridge-building and a catalyst role, the CBM prepared business for change. The adopted consensus approach eased communication between economic role players and focused all role players on socio-economic development. Through social involvement and social development, South African business demonstrated the suitability of the free-market system to address the grave economic inequalities of South Africa.
Keywords : Black Economic Empowerment; community development; community involvement; Consultative Business Movement (CBM); democratisation of business; economic growth; Federated Chambers of Industry (FCI); free market economy; free market system; National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc); "passive resistance" of Afrikaner businessmen; political mobilisation of business; political role of business; political transformation of South Africa; Rubicon-speech; social development; socio-economic responsibility; South African business community; Urban Foundation.