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Phronimon

On-line version ISSN 2413-3086
Print version ISSN 1561-4018

Abstract

LOTTER, Casper. Does Economic Restructuring during Covid-19 in South Africa amount to Disaster Capitalism?. Phronimon [online]. 2022, vol.23, n.1, pp.1-25. ISSN 2413-3086.  http://dx.doi.org/10.25159/2413-3086/10503.

I explore the ANC government's cadre-based (BBBEE/Broad-based Black economic empowerment) narrative in restructuring the economy amidst the pandemic, as an ideological vehicle to achieve an unstated nefarious purpose. The narrative that I aim to capture through the lenses of Naomi Klein's disaster capitalism read with Reiman's "pyrrhic defeat theory," is built around the fictitious idea of Black economic empowerment. Ultimately it serves as a vehicle for fraudulent personal enrichment by politicians and well-connected tenderpreneurs. This double theoretical vision is meant to augment and explain the opportunity that the Covid-pandemic provided for its exploitation as an example of disaster capitalism. I traverse the events which led to the current global pandemic as well as the way or ways in which a faction within government and its institutions has generally colluded with Big Business to profit from it. I consider the South African government's initial response to the pandemic as well as the ways in which such a response morphed into a self-enrichment scheme under the guise of BBBEE. This remains plausible even if one concedes that this purpose was not by original design or is solely driven by a faction within the ruling party. This discussion is preceded by an overview of the VBS Mutual Bank fraud scandal, foreshadowing my demonstration of how the pandemic proffers an opportunity for the RET-group within government to transform into a criminal shadow state as a going concern. In conclusion, I draw on the Covid-19 experience to suggest lessons for the future economic management of pandemics.

Keywords : Black economic empowerment; pandemic restructuring; the economy; ideological vehicle; nefarious purposes.

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