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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751


DUVENHAGE, André. Political transformationism in South Africa: Implications for the state, the economy and society. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2021, vol.61, n.3, pp.713-736. ISSN 2224-7912.

Forms of political and social engineering, for example colonisation, apartheid and forms of radical socialism (Ujamaa - socialism in Tanzania, and radical land reform in Zimbabwe), proved to be mostly failures with catastrophic implications for the various states, their economies and even the societies involved. Often the opposite of what exactly had been envisaged, was achieved. In this regard, the failure of apartheid (sometimes described as separate development) is still freshly remembered as a pertinent example of the abovementioned instances of political and social engineering. Proceeding from the idea (or ideology) of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), the overarching policy framework of political transformation has since been established in South Africa - the response to the former apartheid and colonial practices preceding the country's change to a democratically elected government in 1994. The objective of the ideology informing NDR policies is the establishment of a society that strives to become reconciling, non-sexist and aimed at development in a radical transformative way. The central focus is representativity at all levels of society, including the state, the economy and civil society. This research states as hypothesis that political transformation (transformationism) the ideology currently prevalent in South Africa, is doomed to failure and that this failure is not only already observable, but holds far reaching implications for the state, the economy and greater society in future. My aim is to undertake a thorough investigation and critical analysis of political transformation as the overarching political ideology in South Africa. Such evaluation is undertaken in terms of the rule of law adage ("Rechtsstaat" notion) as norm, as well as connected democratic criteria according to which political, economic and social freedom are taken as normative basis and point of departure.

Keywords : Political transformation; transformationism; social and political engineering; "regstaat" (constitutional state); ANC; ideology; National Democratic Revolution; state capture; corruption.

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