This dissertation addresses two central questions: first, does the post-apartheid bureaucracy have the characteristics of a developmental state? Second, which political interests have shaped the character of the post-apartheid bureaucracy? The research questions are addressed by analysing three macroeconomic policies implemented between 1994 and 2009, with a specific focus on ASGISA. Economic policy is essential in this analysis, because it describes the relationship between the state and markets. This investigation is guided by the following key variables: nature of developmental institutions; state-society relations; and economic intervention.
The study argued that the post-apartheid government has failed to develop the bureaucratic features of a developmental state. It points out that the state’s bureaucracy has not had the policy synergy, coordination and institutional efficiency found in developmental states. Another crucial argument advanced in this study is the inability of the bureaucracy to create productive state and society relations. The study argues that this lack of social capital can be attributed to the following factors: lack of autonomy, acrimonious relations between key economic actors, political contestation, and marginalization of citizens.
Moreover, the dissertation illustrates that the bureaucratic interventions in the economy have not been sufficient for building a developmental state. The post-apartheid government has largely neglected microeconomic policy development. It has over-emphasized liberal macroeconomic policy, whilst paying minimal attention to implementing an effective industrial strategy. Furthermore, the state has not provided sufficient leadership in the economy. It has not succeeded in guiding or coordinating economic activities towards the goals of industrialization, economic restructuring and increasing the levels of human development. This is related to the last shortfall of the bureaucracy: the inability of the state to use state ownership and regulation effectively. The study points out that the lack of policy clarity on state ownership and regulation has hampered efforts to coordinate socioeconomic development.