The second decade of the SA Journal of Economic History

The second decade

The South African Journal of Economic History
1996 to 2005


University of South Africa

This article was first published in the
South African Journal of Economic History
Vol 21(1&2), September 2006, pp 1-51.


    The South African Journal of Economic History came of age this September when it turned 21 with this issue. Coincidentally, in the preceeding 20 volumes, 221 articles were published. Thus, with almost two million words under its belt, the journal enters its third decade as a well-established academic publication.

    The journal still lives up to its title and is, indeed, a South African journal of economic history. This does not mean that it is merely a journal of South African economic history only. Topics covered are far wider, but, at the same time, the journal's roots are solidly southern African. From almost 70 per cent in the first decade, 86 per cent of the 98 articles published since 1996 are on a southern African theme. This higher percentage is boosted by two special issues on the South African economy in the 1970s and 1990s and another on business imperialism in South Africa.

    Volumes 11 to 20 attracted articles from 23 universities: 12 South African, three from elsewhere in Africa, three British, two Australian and one each from Sweden, Canada and the United States. Staff associated with the South African Reserve Bank supplied six articles and another three came from individuals with no affiliation to any institution.

    The heavyweight champion of the decade was Volume 11(2), the special issue on business imperialism in South Africa, which weighed in at 113 231 words. The average issue for the 10 years had 62 439 words and the average article 7646 (including footnotes).

    When all is said and done, the journal has managed to achieve the goal of the Economic History Society of Southern Africa itself, which was formed in July 1980 "to promote the study of and interest in economic and social history".

    To a large extent the ongoing success of the journal can still be attributed to the editor, Prof Stuart Jones of the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg. He was co-editor of the first edition and sole editor from 1987 to 1993 when he was joined by Prof André Müller of the University of Port Elizabeth as co-editor. In March 1995 he became editor with sole responsibility for special issues. When Prof Müller retired as editor after five years, Prof Jones became editor once more in 2001 and is still going strong. One of his major innovations was the 1992 introduction of a series of ongoing special issues devoted to a specific topic. Already published have been: Economic interpretations of 19th century imperialism, Vol 7(1), 1992, Entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution, Vol 8(1), 1993, The South African economy in the 1980s, Vol 9(2), 1994, Business imperialism in South Africa, Vol 11(2), 1996, The South African economy in the 1970s, Vol 14(1&2), 1999, The South African economy in the 1990s, Vol 18(1&2), 2003.

    Prof Grietjie Verhoef of the University of Johannesburg has been the review editor since 1988 and does a sterling job cajolingly contributions from recalcitrant reviewers.

    On the production side, the incredible advances in desktop publishing have slowed down significantly during the journal's second decade compared to the quantum leap in its first. The journal is still being put together by the deputy editor, Jon Inggs of the University of South Africa, who has been at it since Volume 1(1). He is a dedicated user of XyWrite 4.018 for DOS because it is a specialist word editor that does what he wants it to do rather than a behemoth wordprocessor like MicroSoft Word with bells and whistles that just get in the way at the same time it puts the user into a straitjacket designed in Redmond.

    "As a computer person from the 1980s, I like to tell a computer what to do and not ask it 'pretty please, may I'", he says. "Why be content with a sedate modern automatic cruise-controlled Toyota Camry when you can have the power, speed and pleasure of a retro Morgan Plus 8?" In addition, over the years he has found that he can stare at a black screen with crisp white DOS characters all day long while a white Windows screen with simulated scrawny black text tires the eyes within 20 minutes.

    Fortunately there is a dedicated group of XyWriters out there who communicate via an Internet usergroup, swapping information and workarounds – ironically the beauty is that the XyWrite program will never be updated and so no new bugs will ever appear. Largely thanks to XyWriter gurus Robert Holmgren and Carl Distefano, the deputy editor, via a handcrafted postscript printer driver, harnesses the awesome editing power of XyWrite which enables him to produce the journal in PDF format for printing at the University of South Africa's Department of Production.

    The bulk of this retrospective article is devoted to summaries of all the articles published during during the second decade.[1] Hopefully, they will provide a useful guide to researchers who can also consult the appendix at the end of this volume which is a chronological table of contents to date – Volume 1(1), September 1986, to Volume 20(2), September 2005.


    Volume 11(1), March 1996

    The first decade, pp 1-57: Jon Inggs (University of South Africa) gives an overview of the first decade of the South African journal of economic history, emphasising the benefits of the revolution in electronic desktop publishing between 1986 and 1995. There are summaries of all the articles published in the journal in its first 10 years.

    Budgetary policy and the fiscal stance of the South African government during the Great Depression, pp 58-74: Malcolm J. Abbott (Deakin University, Australia) looks at the South African government's fiscal stance during the great depression by calculating the size of real structural budget deficits for the years 1920 to 1939. He shows that the government did maintain its real spending by paying increased real payments to South Africans. He concludes that the severity of the depression can be attributed to the shock of falling export prices and the over-valued exchange rate rather than to the consequences of the government attempting to balance its budget.

    The limits to indigenous technological capacity in the South African computer-hardware industry: Company strategies and the local manufacture campaign of the 1980s, pp 75-97: Peter Draper (University of Durban-Westville)[2] analyses South African indigenous technological capacity (ITC) at the firm-level during the 1980s. In essence, the computer-hardware industry in this period largely responded to sanctions threats while attempting to provide a continuity of supply.

    Residential settlement behaviour, the housing market and suburban development during the formative stage of growth in Johannesburg 1886-1902, pp 98-118: Graeme Hart (University of the Witwatersrand) contributes to an understanding of the processes that underpinned the development of early Johannesburg. The forms and functions which were laid down during this formative phase are evident in the landscape of the contemporary city, a century after the events he describes took place. He identifies seven factors that influenced Johannesburg's residential development.

    The movement of the cocoa frontier towards the Indian Ocean region, pp 119-44: Judith Streak (Rhodes University) analyses the eastward movement of the cocoa frontier from the Americas to West Africa in the first two decades of the twentieth century and on to the Indian Ocean region in its closing decades. By the 1990s the region was responsible for over 20 per cent of world cocoa exports.

    A history of the South African Fire & Life Assurance Company: South Africa's first insurance company, pp 145-55, Robert W. Vivian (University of the Witwatersrand) shows that the origins of the insurance industry in South Africa are shrouded in mystery. However, despite this, there is no doubt that the first successful insurance company was the South African Fire and Life Assurance Company which was established 1831 before the first private bank, the Cape of Good Hope Bank, opened its doors for business in 1837. He then documents a brief history of the company. Ultimately a series of mergers in the local insurance industry led to the formation in the 1970s of the Mutual & Federal Insurance Company, South Africa's largest short-term insurance company.

    Volume 11(2), September 1996

    Business imperialism and business history, pp 1-20, Stuart Jones (University of South Africa), in his overview of the special issue of the journal on business imperialism in South Africa, highlights the two types operating in the country: (1) large oligopolist local corporations and (2) big overseas enterprises that operated within the whole of southern African. As a result the whole region seemed to lie within the hinterland of the Johannesburg metropolis. Both groups provided an element of stability in an economy dominated by primary production.

    The imperial banks in South Africa 1861-1914, pp 21-54, Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) argues that South Africa benefited very much from the arrival of the London-based imperial banks because the country was drawn into the expanding international economy which accelerated the whole process of economic development. He puts to rest the myths and prejudices that abound about the role of imperial business in the nineteenth century. The London-based imperial banks operating in South Africa were a response to the signals coming out of the market. They operated in a laissez-faire environment in which the free flows of the factors of production could take place unhindered by the lobbying of local vested interests.

    The Rand capitalists and the coming of the South African war 1896-1899, pp 55-81: A.H. Jeeves (Queen's University) shows that the exploitation of the Witwatersrand gold fields after 1886 stimulated political and economic developments which transformed the South African Republic (the least developed of the South African states and colonies) and ultimately the entire subcontinent. The intrusion of a large, alien Uitlander population was the most noticeable dimension of change. The political consequences of the gold discoveries stemmed from the chronically tense relations between Afrikaners and immigrant Whites. By early 1899, the hostility of the Kruger government and Milner's increasing influence over the political policies of the Wernher, Beit Company and its allies, marked a long step toward confrontation and war in South Africa.

    Rails crossed: Imperialists, republicans and Edward McMurdo 1883-1889, pp 82-103: Kenneth Wilburn (East Carolina University) highlights how by the 1880s railways became economic and political factors in the struggle for supremacy between British imperialists and Boer republicans. Landlocked Transvaal Boers manipulated railway policies to break out of British territorial encirclement and gain access to a British-free port. Britons similarly used railway policies to maintain Boer dependency on British colonial ports. The article examines the intrigues of the London-based American Edward McMurdo, Portugal, the Transvaal and international offers to buy McMurdo out as railway competition in southern Africa climaxed.

    Reuters and South Africa: "South Africa is a country of monopolies", pp 104-43: Donald Read (University of Kent) describes how Reuters gained a virtual monopoly of news coverage in South Africa. Its first office was opened in Cape Town in 1876 in response to the international demand for a steady flow of general news and economic information after the discovery of diamonds. The improvement in external and internal communications was an added incentive. The discovery of gold increased the demand for information from South Africa.

    Unilever in South Africa, pp 144-93: D.K. Fieldhouse (University of Oxford), in this extract from his 1978 book Unilever overseas, describes the establishment of Lever Brothers in South Africa from 1911 to manufacture the main Lever lines and compete with several small local manufacturers. The second part compares the development of Unilever in South Africa and Australia. Unilever never achieved quite the same dominance of the Australian market that it held, for soap at least, in South Africa. LB(SA) was remarkable for the consistency of its performance. Similarities between the two subsidiaries were more important than differences. Both typify the evolutionary pattern of Unilever manufacturing enterprises in newly industrialising countries overseas in which the bulk of the consumers of their products were relatively affluent.

    Pilkington Glass in South Africa 1882-1992, pp 194-217: Theo Barker (London School of Economics) records the history of glass importation, processing and manufacture by Pilkington Glass in South Africa until it sold its interest in Glass South Africa (Pty) Ltd to Plate Glass and Shatterprufe Industries in 1992. As early as 1882 a general commission agent acted for them in Cape Town but by 1916 the Pilkington import business had become large enough for the company to employ its own agent in Cape Town. From the late 1920s the supply of glass for the motor trade began to grow. In 1935, after securing an agreement to fit Pilkington toughened glass in all General Motors assembled cars at Port Elizabeth, the company decided to establish a subsidiary local company, Armourplate Safety Glass (Pty) Ltd, to build a factory there to process its own plate glass.

    A second 1820s settlement: British textile manufacturers and South Africa post 1945, pp 218-50: Ken Kilvington looks at the British dominance of the postwar establishment of the textile industry in South Africa. In common with other countries emerging from a colonial past, textile manufacture was slow in coming to South Africa. Forty years later the industry was still heavily dependent on the managers and technologists who had been recruited from Britain and other western European countries in the 1950s and 1960s. In world terms, the South African textile industry is small scale with 0,4 per cent of the world's spinning capacity and 0,3 per cent of weaving capacity.

    South Africa and the international diamond trade, Part Two: The rise and fall of South Africa as a diamond entrepôt, 1945-1990, pp 251-84: Colin Newbury (University of Oxford) discusses the transformation of De Beers, South Africa's first homegrown multinational, as the 20th century's most remarkable example of business imperialism. An unprecedented expansion of the international diamond trade saw a shift in the balance of production away from South Africa to other African states. The reversal of the historical concentration of mining company and brokerage in South Africa ended the vulnerability of De Beers in the face of political change within the South Africa. The precautionary move to incorporation in Switzerland, leaving the rump of the old mining company and its local subsidiaries, created something more akin to an international holding company with a special cachet, because of its connections with the diamond trade.

    Volume 12(1&2), September 1997

    South African wool marketing, pp 1-25: Malcolm Abbott (Deakin University, Australia) sees the marketing of wool in South Africa is one characterised by a complex pattern of regulations and institutional intervention. Since the 1930s the marketing of South African wool has passed through a full range of alternative structures. Originally wool was marketed through a free market system of private sales and auctions. During World War II and the years 1972-93 full acquisition schemes operated. In the years 1946-51 and 1958-72 there were buffer stock (surplus removal) schemes. Finally, the marketing of wool in South Africa reverted back to a structure of auctions and private sales after the suspension of the single channel pool scheme in June 1993. Ultimately it was economic forces that put pressure on the South African wool authorities to reform.

    The evolution of development policy in South Africa: Lessons from the past and the way forward, pp 26-53: A.E. Loots (Rand Afrikaans University)[3] traces the historical course of development policy in South Africa. She discusses the historical perspective within two time-frames, the apartheid phase (1948-1979) and the neo-apartheid phase (the 1980s). Evaluating the development policies of the past in the context of the range of options then available to policy-makers. She concludes that human centred development will clearly form the most important link in the striving for sustainable development for present and future generations in South Africa.

    The government in the economic history of Singapore, pp 54-76: André Müller (University of Port Elizabeth)[4] argues that the economic history of Singapore after independence in 1959 was shaped by pragmatic government intervention on a broad front. He concludes that the usefulness of the "Singapore model" to other countries is limited by the fact that, when Singapore obtained self-government in 1959, it was not a typical less-developed country. However, there are lessons in the way that Singapore's government was able to raise the country onto a high growth path. Singapore's development depended upon its human resources.

    Events, views and ideologies which shaped social security in South Africa, pp 77-102: Theo van der Merwe (University of South Africa) highlights what has shaped social security in South Africa from the pre-colonial period through to the apartheid era and the ANC assuming power in 1994. Insecurity, caused by poverty and circumstances such as sickness and unemployment, is one of the important social issues that all communities need to address. He defines social security as programmes initiated by either government or private organisations to maintain a certain minimum standard of living. Four important factors or ideologies that shaped the views on social security in South Africa: (1) government intervention, (2) unemployment, (3) laissez-faire liberalism and (4) racial discrimination.

    So long, gold mines – long live industries? A case study of Carletonville's battle for economic survival, pp 103-27: Elize van Eeden (Potchefstroom University)[5] argues that Carletonville will have to develop its secondary and tertiary sectors over the next 40 years in order to survive the gradually declining gold output of its mines. Before the arrival of mining in 1937, farming was the core economic activity in the area. By 1995, although almost 90 per cent of the economic input of Carletonville came from the mining sector, the town planning department of greater Carletonville was confident that the Development Facilitation Act (DFA) of December 1995, with its focus on the Land Development Objectives, would provide the platform on which a new structure could be built.

    Blainey and early Witwatersrand profitability: Some thoughts on financial management and capital constraints facing the gold mining industry 1886-1894, pp 128-52: Arthur Webb (Rhodes University) reviews the early financial and managerial history of the Witwatersrand goldfield to test Geoffrey Blainey's assumption of the early prosperity of the outcrop mines that allowed him to assert that the Jameson Raid had a material rather than a political base. He builds upon Elaine Katz's important refutation of the production aspects of the Blainey thesis. What emerges is a different picture of companies struggling to adjust to the constraints of limited working capital and poor mining expertise. The profits which Blainey writes about were a recent phenomenon of an entirely restructured industry and a speculative share market in which accumulated debt was passed off onto an unsuspecting European shareholding.

    Cycles in central bank independence, pp 153-74: G.M. Wessels (University of the Free State) exposes the determinants of the changes in the importance of central bank independence during different historical periods. Established in a past era when it was not deemed necessary for central banks to be engaged in macro-economic policy-making, they have evolved into key institutions in modern times. He demarcates different time periods during which central bank independence successively received more emphasis, and alternately, less emphasis. He argues that the status of central bank independence was determined by political, social and economic as well as structural forces.

    Volume 13(1&2), September 1998

    Labour's mistrust of profit sharing, pp 1-16: Doreen Bekker (University of South Africa) shows why employees sometimes mistrust management's motives for introducing profit sharing. Some past experiences with profit sharing illustrated that labour's resistance to profit sharing is not a new phenomenon. Labour's mistrust of profit sharing schemes originates mainly in their mistrust of management and management's motives, not from a mistrust of profit sharing per se. She argues that management should include labour in the planning and decision-making surrounding a profit sharing scheme rather than adopting a unilateral approach to its implementation.

    Phases I, II & III of the local content programme in the South African motor car manufacturing industry 1961-1976, pp 17-35: A.B. Julius & A.B. Lumby (University of Natal)[6] show that the government's local content programme did not rationalise the South African motor industry the way it was planned to. This was in sharp contrast to the experience of the major motor vehicle producing countries which was characterised by the concentration of production. Despite the rather minor eliminations that took place in 1975-76, the relatively small South African market continued to be burdened by too many manufacturers and too many models and variants.

    Path dependence in South African economic development, pp 36-59: Henry Kenney (University of the Witwatersrand) explains the concept of path dependence in economic development. The early path-dependent literature dealt with technological change, but similar arguments may also explain the evolution of institutions. This at least has been the view of Douglass North, who has seen path-dependent processes at work in shaping efficient and inefficient outcomes throughout economic history. Kenney concludes that applying the concept to South African economic history "in the 'strict' Arthur-North sense, is not compelling in its cogency".

    Neglected historical and social factors in the development of less developed countries, pp 60-74: A.A. Okharedia (University of Zululand) attempts to give a pragmatic analysis of some of the neglected historical and social factors affecting the development process in less developed countries (LDCs). Some of these factors are: (1) witchcraft (2) personal rights and obligations and (3) the value system and corruption. He believes that their elimination is a prerequisite for the development process in LDCs.

    Towards a new interpretation of the history of economic growth, pp 75-101: Stefan Schirmer (University of the Witwatersrand) seeks to put social issues back on the agenda by examining the historical causes of economic growth in the pre- and post-industrial world. His examination highlights both cooperative interactions between state and society and cultural integration as crucial factors that help to explain why some economies grew while others did not. He argues strongly for a link between cultural factors and the distribution of power and wealth.

    Volume 14(1&2), September 1999

    An overview of the South African economy in the 1970s, pp 1-10: Stuart Jones & Jon Inggs (University of South Africa) argue that the decade of the 1970s marked a watershed in South African economic history as long-term economic growth gave way to long-term economic decline. This was in stark contrast to the preceding decade, which had been characterised by high growth and the disappearance of the poor White problem. The change that was taking place was not obvious at the time – but a quarter of a century later it is striking, emphasising once again the need for perspective in historical studies.

    The political economy of South Africa in the 1970s, pp 11-36: Charles Simkins (University of the Witwatersrand) describes the 1970s as a crucial transitional period for the economy as long term growth gave way to slow or no growth. In 1970, the National Party was at the zenith of its power, having both radically reduced the size of the parliamentary opposition and successfully repressed, for the time being, the extra parliamentary challenge to the political order. By 1980, it had conceded the incorporation of Black trade unions into the formal industrial relations system. Yet it was not entirely on the defensive, granting "independence" to four homelands between 1976 and 1981. Efforts to deepen segregation at the local government level were to continue into the early 1980s, as were attempts to incorporate Coloureds and Indians as junior partners in the state. By 1980, the National Party was under considerable pressure from forces not of its liking. But it still believed that it could accommodate these pressures within a reform process substantially on its own terms.

    South African monetary policies during the 1970s, pp 37-54: R.M. Gidlow (South African Reserve Bank) reviews the monetary policies applied during the 1970s, the adaptions made to the monetary control system and the motivations behind the shift in policies. The underlying approach to monetary policy embodied in the 1965 Banks Act was never really implemented. Moreover, the approach to monetary policy focused upon achieving some stability in the value of money and an acceptable growth rate for the economy as a whole. This in turn partly explains the reliance upon open market operations and why a more flexible interest rate policy was spurned. Towards the end of the 1970s a re-appraisal of the Reserve Bank's approach led to the importance of 'market orientated' methods of monetary policy being recognised.

    Fiscal policy in South Africa during the 1970s, pp 55-89: J.vdS. Heyns (Rand Afrikaans University)[7] offers some reflections and perspectives on government spending, taxation, deficits and debt in South Africa when fiscal policy was conducted against a turbulent domestic and international background. Fiscal policy was still essentially Keynesian. That is to say, it was based on a belief that budgetary activities related to allocational efficiency and income distribution were to be conducted within the framework of a flexible budget in the interest of stabilisation policy. However, this preoccupation with flexibility rather than longer-term issues contributed to the failure on the part of the authorities to recognise the extent to which the 1970s were inexorably laying the groundwork for future fiscal problems during the 1980s and after.

    South African agriculture in the 1970s, pp 90-113: Nick Vink (University of Stellenbosch) supports the World Bank argument that South African agriculture made a smaller than expected contribution to the general development of the economy during the 1970s as a result of state intervention in the sector. Policies adopted in the 1970s played a particularly strong role in the impoverishment of the South African economy. Specific examples of such policies include the pursuit of self-sufficiency; discrimination within the sector; and the distortions in the price of capital and labour. The 1970s represent the high point of the era of state support to and control of 'White' commercial farming in South Africa. Output and exports increased over the decade; wages and employment in the sector increased; a benign state supplied professional support services, and a successful agribusiness sector controlled by farmers through the co-operative movement supplied inputs to and processed, distributed and sold farm products.

    The South African mining industry in the 1970s, pp 114-42: Gillian Moncur (Chamber of Mines) & Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) show that in the 1970s the South African mining industry underwent dramatic changes, in the value of its output, in the composition of this output and in the composition of its labour force. Although the physical volume of gold output continued to decline, the price rose dramatically so that the relative importance of gold to the economy increased. New mines were developed and, after the labour unrest of the early years of the decade, real wages rose substantially and stability returned to the industry, culminating in the decision to implement far-reaching changes in labour policies and practices. The venerable diamond mining industry received a new lease of life following the discoveries in Botswana and an important new precious metals industry arose with the expansion of platinum mining. However, the most important of the new developments in the 1970s occurred in the coal industry which was transformed from a high cost producer for the local market into an efficient producer for export markets. Globalisation was beginning to place its stamp upon the South African mining industry two decades before it became a slogan of the media. In the 1970s South Africa was increasing its relative importance to the international economy, as coal, platinum and minerals used in the steel industry were added to its traditional dominance in gold mining and diamonds.

    The manufacturing sector during the 1970s, pp 143-61: Colin McCarthy (University of Stellenbosch) highlights the 1970s as the decade in which the long period of sustained diversifying growth since the early 1930s came to an end. In the course of the 1970s the South African economy and manufacturing industry in particular slowed down and entered a phase of protracted decline which generated growing unemployment and declining per capita incomes. During the mid-1970s the South African economy started the decline that culminated in the stagnation of the 1980s and the poor growth of the 1990s. An underlying theme of his article is that markets, both product and factor markets, are important. Distortions in factors markets impact on factor productivity and consequently on the competitiveness of industry.

    The South African transport sector in the 1970s, pp 162-94: Trevor Jones (University of Natal)[8] shows that the 1970s were a decade of massive and irreversible change in the South African transport sector. In the maritime and ports sector, these changes amounted to nothing short of a revolution. The establishment of two new deepwater bulk ports at Richards Bay and Saldanha propelled South Africa to the forefront of international bulk transport. At the same time the national ports were forced to confront the compelling logic of containerisation and unitisation of cargoes. These changes were also to exert a substantial impact on landside transport because the two new bulk ports required two entirely new rail networks to link them with their respective hinterlands. In air transport, the introduction of wide-bodied "jumbo" aircraft ushered in the era of mass transportation. In the road sector, overall change in the southern African region was less dramatic with road transport growth constrained by continued regulatory intervention, but stimulated by the multi-modal demand associated with containerisation.

    Banking in the 1970s, pp 195-231: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) outlines four features that characterised and influenced banking in the 1970s: (1) moderate growth in sharp contrast the previous decade, (2) a widening of the range of services provided, (3) South Africanisation and (4) persistent government interference in the operation of the market. The first of these occurred despite the poorer performance of the economy and was driven by the increase in the price of gold and the large infrastructure projects embarked upon in this decade. The second was a response, albeit a somewhat delayed one, to the growth of the previous decade. The expansion of the manufacturing sector was the driving force behind the development of a wide range of specialised financial institutions. The third resulted from the repatriation of local businesses into South African ownership in the 1970s and the development of new specialised institutions, merchant banks, discount houses and hire purchase banks. Finally, he notes the "neo-mercantilist government's penchant for interfering with the working of the market which increased in the 1970s, both directly and indirectly". He also contends that the government was primarily responsible for the inflation of the 1970s by its imposition of exchange controls which locked the proceeds of the mining houses in the country and by its own increased spending and borrowing.

    Asset and risk management in the 1970s, pp 232-59: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa), André Liebenberg & Robert Vivian (University of the Witwatersrand) put into perspective the business of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and provide comparisons with the performance of the commercial banks, the building societies and the life assurers. Surprisingly perhaps in a decade noted for its political developments, economic forces appear to have been more powerful than political ones. Between 1970 and 1975 in response to the 1969 market crash and the onset of worldwide inflation, market capitalisation, new capital raised and turnover all moved into negative territory. Then in the second half of the decade, after the Soweto riots, all the figures moved into positive territory, save the market capitalisation of the gold mining companies. Investing in gold mining companies was a profitable exercise only in the first half of the decade. In the second half of the decade the life insurers were the stars. Their assets were growing at a rate that outperformed all other financial institutions. They were more nimble in their response to permanent inflation than either the banks or the stock exchange. By comparison the short-term insurance market was much less dynamic. Its structure experienced little change, despite the fluctuation in underwriting results.

    Internal and external trade in the 1970s, pp 260-89: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) shows that South Africa's trade in the 1970s reflected the more difficult economic conditions of the time, signalled by the ending of rapid economic growth and the onset of double digit inflation. An illusion of prosperity was maintained by the rise in the gold price and accompanying expansion of the currency base. These developments in turn were reinforced by the policies of the Vorster government. Both internal and external trade reflected these conditions, which were further reinforced by the ending of a quarter of a century of unparalleled growth in the international economy. Nevertheless, despite the less favourable international environment, in this decade the South African economy experienced export-led growth, as exports, boosted by the higher gold price, grew at a very much faster rate than the GDP. So, too, did wholesale sales. But retail sales grew at a slightly lower rate because competition was fiercer in the retail sector and this held down prices and profits.

    Some aspects of economic relations between South Africa and the BLS countries in the 1970s, pp 290-308: Gavin Maasdorp (University of Natal)[9] shows how the fledgling states of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (BLS) set out to loosen their economic ties with South Africa. The ties were those of trade, investment, transport and employment. Since the 1890s there had been a common customs and monetary system, while flows of migrant labour to South Africa had grown in intensity. Their landlockedness, together with free trade, had ensured that BLS were integrated into the South African rail, road and port systems. The pragmatic stance of BLS governments in their economic relations with South Africa was in general accepted and understood by the rest of the world. However, there were instances when the three countries indirectly suffered from international measures aimed at isolating South Africa. They were not attractive to foreign investors other than South African ones. The BLS governments were not in the business of making grand anti-apartheid gestures by severing trading links with Pretoria, arguing that they could not afford to bear the considerable additional costs which would be involved.

    The South African balance of payments in the 1970s, pp 309-40: Philip Mohr (University of South Africa) shows that the 1970s can be regarded as the watershed decade in the South African economy during the postwar period. After a period of steady and relatively high economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s, the level and pace of economic activity in South Africa became erratic in the 1970s. Although the stagnation and decline of the South African economy since 1975 cannot be ascribed solely to external developments, some significant external events and policy developments during the 1970s had a strong bearing on the level and pace of economic activity in South Africa. The decade ended with South Africa experiencing its strongest cyclical boom of the postwar period. However, with hindsight, it is clear that the recession of the mid-1970s was not temporary because it was related, both directly and indirectly, to the country's balance of payments. From 1976 onwards South Africa could no longer rely on a spontaneous net inflow of foreign capital. This gave rise to a binding balance of payments constraint on economic activity and policy which was to reappear in the 1980s and become an almost permanent feature of the South African economic scene.

    Volume 15(1&2), September 2000

    Mary Elizabeth Barber, some early South African geologists and the discoveries of gold, pp 1-19: Alan Cohen follows the exploration of the geological resources of South Africa through the letters of Mary Elizabeth Barber an extraordinary woman whose life spanned virtually the whole of the nineteenth century. She was the eldest daughter of Miles Bowker, an 1820 Settler and gentleman sheep-farmer. She became a well-known artist, poet and natural historian. Her scientific papers were published by the Linnean Society of London, the Entomological Society of London, and the South African Philosophical Society. Although her major contributions to science were in the fields of botany and entomology, she lived through and recorded the events with which she and her family were intimately involved. She was closely connected with the discovery of diamonds and gold in South Africa and knew or was related to, many of the chief characters involved.

    The economic history of the Port Elizabeth-Uitenhage region, pp 20-47: André Müller (University of Port Elizabeth)[10] gives a broad outline of the economic development of the Port Elizabeth-Uitenhage region, the fourth largest industrial area in South Africa. It evolved through two broad phases. The first phase, encompassing most of the nineteenth century, was characterised by export-led growth. Port Elizabeth became the main entrepôt for the wool trade, the Liverpool of the Cape. This trade encouraged the establishment of a variety of commercial undertakings, small industries, banks and services, whose wellbeing remained closely intertwined with that of the wool trade. The second phase started early in the twentieth century, when manufacturing became an autonomous generator of income and employment. Industrialisation, mainly of the import-substituting kind, transformed Port Elizabeth first into the Northampton of South Africa by 1920 with its boot and shoe industry, and then into the Detroit of South Africa with the advent of the motor assembly industry. But after 1948 Port Elizabeth began to acquire Cinderella status as it was all but ignored by the National Party government, whose main power base lay elsewhere.

    Government employment and pay reform in South Africa 1996-1999, pp 48-68: Krige Siebrits (University of South Africa) shows that government employment and pay reforms deal with complex and interwoven issues spanning the areas of macroeconomics, microeconomics and politics. On paper, the 1996 agreement between the state and the public service unions seemed to be a sound compromise. But in practice the balancing act proved impossible to maintain. Faced with tight fiscal constraints and unable to achieve its personnel reduction targets, the government had little choice but to default on its remuneration improvement commitments. The unions reacted aggressively, showing minimal appreciation of the government's efforts to limit job losses and improve conditions of service in the public service.

    Changing attitudes and policies towards the South African state forestry industry in the 1980s and 1990s, pp 69-111: F.H. Smith (University of South Africa) debates whether the commercial activities of state forestry should be privatised as part of the restructuring programme of the Government of National Unity. To find an answer, he looks at the changing attitudes and policies towards the South African state forestry industry in the 1980s and 1990s and explores the differences between restructuring, commercialisation, privatisation and deregulation.

    J.B. Loynes and central banking development in British West Africa, pp 112-33: Chibuike U. Uche (University of Nigeria) acknowledges that J.B. Loynes was a visionary who played a key role in the development of central banking in British West Africa. Even though he anticipated many of the problems that these central banks subsequently experienced, his advice and indeed actions were at the time clouded by political change. Loynes oversaw the transition from currency board to central banking in three colonies as they gained independence from Britain. There was a reluctance to allow the creation of such banks based on the fear that establishing such banks in countries with underdeveloped political and economic structures was an infallible way of promoting inflation. This explains why the Bank of England always insisted on limiting the ability of such central banks to create money.

    Community banking for development: The case of Community Bank in comparative perspective 1994-1996, pp 134-58: Grietjie Verhoef (Rand Afrikaans University)[11] puts community banking into an international context while looking at the rise and fall of the Community Bank between 1994 and 1996. Community banks are designed to service the low-income end of the market which was largely still unbanked in the mid-1990s. The Mutual Banks Act (Act 124 of 1993) provided the statutory framework and the Community Bank (CB) was finally registered in July 1994. The bank borrowed mutual banking concepts from the international experience in Third World countries. However, within 23 months of commencing business, the CB was placed under curatorship in May 1996. The bank had not complied with the general international concept of community banking. Because South Africa was already over-banked any new institution needed to posses an exceptional competitive advantage or to have a niche market. Neither the focus on the Black community nor the focus on housing provided the CB with that advantage.

    South African agriculture in the 1970s: A decade of transformation?, pp 159-79: Arthur Webb (Rhodes University) questions the narrowness of the definition of an agricultural revolution in South Africa used by both Peter Wickins[12] and Stuart Jones & André Müller[13]. He feels it is necessary to re-explore the concept of an agricultural revolution because implied in the term 'revolution' in any economic sense is the idea that such a change is to the betterment of the society affected by it. In other words, a South African agricultural revolution should transcend simply an increase in agricultural output to consider the welfare of those who derive their livelihood from the land, as well as the domestic society it feeds. He focuses on agricultural output in the 1970s and assesses its potential as a possible agricultural revolution, given Wickins's claim that this should be a swift transition with substantial falls in the capital-output ratio. Secondly, he looks at whether the transition was sustainable. Thirdly, he examines the broad claim that government intervention was a major causal factor.

    An agricultural revolution 1950-1975: A rejoinder, pp 180-86: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) argues that Webb's essay provides an interesting and useful analysis of farming in the 1970s, overlaid with a social definition of an agricultural revolution that was specifically rejected by Wickins. Webb displays a particular concern for attacking Wickins and Jones & Müller but not Hobart Houghton, who originally provided the concept of an agricultural revolution in post-war South Africa. Jones points out that: "There can be little doubt that Wickins and Houghton were correct". Webb's confusion comes from two sources: his refusal to accept the distinction between an agricultural revolution and an agrarian one in the modernised sector and his muddled periodisation. Wickins, Hobart Houghton and Jones & Müller make it quite clear that they were looking at the third quarter of the century. Webb is primarily concerned with the decade of the 1970s, with extension into the 1980s, by which time most of the dramatic changes had already taken place.

    Volume 16(1&2), September 2001

    The changing face of anti-dumping actions against Chinese exporters, pp 1-28: Doreen Bekker (University of South Africa) explains the classic theory of dumping and then looks at the changing face of anti-dumping actions against Chinese exporters. The Chinese economy is no longer completely centrally planned with all decisions being taken by government. It is a socialist market economy driven in many spheres by market forces since the launching of the reform and opening-up policies of Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Bekker shows that many Chinese exporters became the target of anti-dumping actions because their products were often cheaper than similar products produced by competitors.

    The influence on the South African economy of the gold mining industry 1925-2000, pp 29-46: Jocelyn A. Bell traces the history of the gold mining industry based on the annual reports of the Chamber of Mines. She sees 1925 as a watershed year because the election of the Pact government the previous year in the aftermath of the Rand Rebellion. Not only did the industry face an unsympathetic government, the country's return to the gold standard on 11 May led to an immediate loss of almost nine per cent of revenue. Decades of restructuring followed so that by 2000 the industry possessed a more responsible management and a more responsible labour force.

    A tale of two governors: Monetary policy and the South African economy 1981-1999, pp 47-73: Duncan Hodge (University of South Africa) compares and contrasts events in the South African economy and the conduct of monetary policy of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) under Dr Gerhard de Kock (1981-89) and his successor Dr Chris Stals (1989-99). He focuses on the broad direction of changes in monetary policy and its connection to trends and events in the South African economy, especially inflation, economic growth and employment. He questions the existence of the trade-off between inflation and unemployment in South Africa. He also looks at the broad changes in the main monetary and credit aggregates, interest rates, inflation, growth and employment that occurred. Against this empirical background, he examines the issue of whether declining formal sector employment in South Africa in the 1990s can be attributed to deficient aggregate demand, worsened by overly tight monetary policies, or to real and structural features of the economy which were essentially independent of the conduct of monetary policy.

    Transformation in the external trade of South Africa 1925-2000, pp 74-100: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) looks at the changes in South African external trade patterns between 1925 and 2000. He argues that the most significant changes were the expansion in the number of trading partners and the ending of real capita growth in the mid-1970s. Throughout the period South Africa maintained a very open economy when measured by the weighting of external trade in GDP. Even at the height of sanctions, in the 1980s, the country remained very dependent upon the international economy. A striking feature of external trade was the decline in the relative weighting of gold. Imports changed from being dominated by consumer goods in 1925 to producer goods by 1999 which reflected the economy's progress in manufacturing. Finally, he notes the long-term decline in the importance of the United Kingdom as a trading partner.

    The governors and deputy governors of the South African Reserve Bank 1921-2001, pp 101-38: Philip Mohr (University of South Africa) traces the profiles of the governors and deputy governors of the SARB from 1921 to 2001. He discusses some of the major events and issues in the history of the bank, highlighting the recent break from tradition. The 80-year period under review is divided into four subperiods: the first 30 years (1921-1950), the second 30 years (1951-1980), the De Kock/Stals era (1981-August 1999) and the Mboweni period (August 1999-2001). The introduction of a Monetary Policy Committee in 1999 and an inflation targeting framework in 2000 were major innovations.

    Steps towards social dialogue and the development of NEDLAC in a democratic South Africa 1979-2001, pp 139-71: Raymond Parsons (University of the Witwatersrand) briefly covers the conceptual framework of social dialogue, investment in social capital and some international definitions of social dialogue as a background to developments in South Africa. He looks at social dialogue as a mechanism for problem-solving and reducing transaction costs, examines the nature of social dialogue in the apartheid era and its workplace origins. He then covers the genesis of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) in 1995 and gives an historical perspective on its role since then.

    A comment on the management of South Africa's commercial fishing industry, pp 172-88: Adrian Saville & Anthony Lumby (University of Natal)[14] examine the regulatory system employed by South Africa's fisheries authorities. They emphasise the influence of regulatory controls on the dual goals of biological sustainability and economic efficiency. More specifically, they explore the reasons why controls have failed to reverse or prevent biological over-exploitation and reduce economic inefficiencies in harvesting and resource management. They point out that the Marine Living Resources Act Nº 18 of 1998 attempts to address many of the shortcomings they identify vis-à-vis the use of direct controls in the regulation and management of renewable marine resources. To this end, the act marks a sharp break with the 'command-and-control' approach employed over the past five or six decades.

    Genrec: A business history of individual entrepreneurial spirit in the construction industry, pp 189-223: Grietjie Verhoef (Rand Afrikaans University)[15] uses the establishment and growth of General Erections Ltd (Genrec) as an example of entrepreneurial bravery. What is remarkable, is the emergence of an engineering conglomerate within the competitive construction industry under the leadership of an individual with no formal engineering training. It developed from modest beginnings servicing the mining industry to the fabrication of modern steel structures and the installation of mechanical and engineering structures in a wide range of industries. However, Genrec was fair-weather company which prospered when the business cycle moved upwards but failed to strengthen its capital base and modernise its managerial organisation. Genrec was eventually caught up in the serious recession affecting the South African economy from the early 1980s. Closer co-operation with Murray & Roberts provided much needed financial muscle as well as expertise in financial control and management. In 1993 when Sankorp unbundled Gencor and its interests in Murray & Roberts, Genrec as a separate entity ceased to exist.

    An analysis of deepening in the Cameroon's financial sector, pp 224-38: Karl Wunde (University of Buea, Cameroon) evaluates the changes that have occurred in Cameroon's financial system since the introduction of structural reforms in the late 1980s. He gauges this by means of simple monetary and financial ratios and finds that the monetary authorities have not succeeded in their objective of deepening the Cameroonian financial system. His analysis is divided into two periods namely: the period before the financial reforms (1972-87), and the period after the financial reforms (1988-98).

    Volume 17(1&2), September 2002

    Agricultural development policies of Ethiopia since 1957, pp 1-24: Zerihun Gudeta Alemu, Lukas K. Oosthuizen & H.D. van Schalkwyk (University of the Free State) discuss the impact of development theories on policy-making in Ethiopia since 1957 and evaluate how effective it was. Ethiopian development planning can be divided into two: industry-led and agriculture-led strategies. The first strategy dominated policy from the 1960s to 1980s and reduced the role of agriculture to merely supplying resources needed for rapid growth in the other sectors. The second one, influenced by the 1983/84 drought, was the 10-Year Perspective Plan with its goal of self-sufficiency in food production.

    The history of exchange controls in South Africa, pp 25-48: R.M. Gidlow (South African Reserve Bank) points out that, while the formulation of exchange control policies in South Africa is in the hands of the Treasury, the Reserve Bank does the actual administration. He divides exchange controls into two periods, the first stretching from 1939 to 1960, and the second the period thereafter up to the time of writing. During the first period the exchange control policy of South Africa was primarily influenced by the onset of the Second World War and the country's responsibilities under the Sterling Area arrangements. During the subsequent period from 1960 stringent exchange controls were applied to both residents and non-residents, and such controls were an important facet of policies directed towards the balance of payments. From the mid-1990s, however, a progressive relaxation in exchange controls on residents materialised, with the authorities declaring that the ultimate objective is the removal of all the controls.

    The decline of the South African economy 1980-2000, pp 49-81: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) shows that factor movements and factor price movements played a significant part in the state of the South African economy, positively in the 1970s and negatively in the 1980s and 1990s. He believes that in all the factors of production, land, labour and capital, there were shortcomings that held back economic growth. When gold was the basis of the world's monetary system and South Africa's gold output was increasing, these defects could be ignored or tolerated. In the last quarter of the 20th century they inflicted serious damage upon the economy, not as dramatically as the disasters that hit the economies of Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe, but nevertheless damaging in the long-run. Once the cushion of gold was removed, a more open approach to the international economy revealed the inefficiencies in the South African economy and its attendant bureaucracies and public corporations. The massive increase in the size of the population became the driving force behind the decline in per capita GDP after 1975. On top of this there was under investment in education which kept the skill base of the Black labour force low and lowly paid. Highly politicised trade unions, that expanded rapidly and throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, acted as a drag upon the economy, resisting productivity-inducing changes and encouraging entrepreneurs to replace labour with capital. Exchange controls locked money in the country and strengthened the inflationary forces already at work. In the 1990s the new ANC government made things worse by pushing through Parliament controversial labour legislation that weakened manufacturing.

    The effect of the gold standard crisis on the foreign exchange business of Barclays Bank (DCO) in South Africa, pp 82-104: Estranell Lübbe (Rand Afrikaans University)[16] examines whether South Africa's decision to remain on the gold standard after Britain officially abandoned it on 20 September 1931, affected the foreign exchange business of Barclays Bank in South Africa. She shows that the difference in the value of the South African and British currencies caused a speculative outflow of capital from South Africa. The demand on Barclays for sterling increased and it became more dependent on the Reserve Bank for cover. Another consequence was the erosion of the banking sector's virtual monopoly of the foreign exchange market. Foreign exchange transactions were increasingly channelled away from the banks to private companies with substantial sterling holdings overseas who could offer more favourable rates. The years 1931-32 mark the first intervention by politicians in the international currency market – an experience setting a dangerous precedent from which the country still suffers.

    The political economy of Zimbabwe 1996-2002, pp 105-37: Raymond Parsons (University of the Witwatersrand) attempts to unravel some of the fundamental causes of the crisis in Zimbabwe by looking at how President Mugabe failed to manage, and delicately balance, the political and economic issues that ultimately led to socio-political and economic instability. Whereas Zimbabwe was once hailed as the most successful democracy in Africa, with a strong if somewhat narrowly based economy, it is now a country beset with mismanagement, corruption, political repression and imminent famine. Property rights and the rule of law are no longer respected. The reality that emerges from the Zimbabwean experience once again demonstrates that control of police, military and the media is what decides the fate of democracy.

    A history of the London & Lancashire Fire Insurance Company in South Africa, pp 138-61: Robert W. Vivian (University of the Witwatersrand) offers a detailed history of the London and Lancashire Fire Insurance Company. The 1862 founding of the company in Britain coincided with the formation of the first South African London-based banks. Both the banks and insurance companies were a response to the quickening rate of economic growth that characterised the third quarter of the nineteenth century. The company showed an early interest in southern Africa by appointing an agent in the Cape Colony as early as 1862. Soon it had agents all over southern Africa which were upgraded to fully-fledged branches in the major centres. Unfortunately the London & Lancashire's fate was similar to that of many British firms in former colonies. It became somewhat sluggish over the years. The London & Lancashire, facing market forces, experienced a series of mergers in the 1960s. These led to a listing on the Johannesburg stock exchange and a take over by Old Mutual.

    Volume 18(1&2), September 2003

    The South African economy in the 1990s, pp 1-15: Stuart Jones & Jon Inggs (University of South Africa) place the articles in this special issue on the South African economy in the 1990s into context. Private enterprise was still the driving force behind the growth of the South African economy as it had been ever since sustained growth began in the early nineteenth century. However, in the 1990s there was increasing state interference and threats to the security of property rights were growing. These unfavourable developments restricted the freedom of market forces to generate adequate economic growth at a time when the population was increasing rapidly and gold production was falling. The first four years of the 1990s saw macro-economic conditions that were hostile to any significant economic growth. Things did not change after 1994. The population explosion continued to flood the job market with new entrants, most of whom were poorly qualified because of apartheid education policies and the ANC's own "liberation before education" campaign. The government had no population policy preferring to blame apartheid for all its problems at a time when its own minimum wage policies effectively prevented youngsters coming into the job market from finding employment. The challenge, therefore, at the end of the century was to release the productive forces of private enterprise to bring about real economic growth. But private enterprise increasingly had to battle with a thicket of regulations and controls – the continuation of harmful exchange controls, a weakening infrastructure and the absence of significant privatisation by a government wedded to patronage in the public sector.

    An overview of the South African economy in the 1990s, pp 16-30: Philip Mohr (University of South Africa) summarises the performance of the South African economy in the 1990s and looks at the broad debate on economic policy, starting with the initial uncertainty and the posturing of the various interest groups culminating in the adoption of the neoliberal Growth, employment and redistribution strategy (Gear) in 1996. He also provides more information on the different types of economic policy adopted during the decade. In many instances, however, the capacity to execute the policies was lacking. Many government spending programmes, for example, were executed inefficiently because of a lack of experience and expertise, particularly at the middle-management level. The government became increasingly aware of these shortcomings and by the end of the century the need to increase the capacity to implement policies had become a familiar theme in political speeches.

    The Stals era of monetary policy in South Africa, pp 31-49: Andrie Schoombee (University of Stellenbosch) provides a broad overview of South African monetary policy in the 1990s. He then assesses it within the broad framework of what monetary policy actually is and how the policy instruments were utilised to control the operational variable of the monetary authorities. The Stals era of monetary policy was characterised by a strong and continuous emphasis on the protection of the value of the rand. However, difficulties were experienced in controlling the money supply and there was a breakdown in the stable relationship between monetary aggregates and the rate of inflation.

    Fiscal policy in the 1990s, pp 50-75: Estian Calitz (University of Stellenbosch) & Krige Siebrits (University of South Africa) sketch the contextual factors, shifting mind sets and most important fiscal policy changes. In the early part of the 1990s, the country seemed to be heading for serious fiscal problems. However, by the end of the decade public finances were generally on a much sounder footing. The discussion is organised around Musgravian lines, distinguishing among developments in the pursuit of macroeconomic stability, efficiency in the allocation of resources (to which is added economic growth) and fairness in the distribution of income and wealth.

    The pace, nature and impact of trade policy in South Africa in the 1990s, pp 76-95: Rashad Cassim (University of the Witwatersrand) touches on a broad range of facets in tracing developments in South African trade policy in the 1990s. He begins a chronological history of significant changes, highlighting the major differences between the 1980s and 1990s. He then focuses on South Africa's commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the main vehicle through which most of the liberalisation took place in the 1990s. Factors that affected trade reform included changes in anti-export bias, effective rates of protection, the exchange rate and subsidies. The 1990s were an important decade for trade policy and significant strides were made in reforming the trade regime but in 2000 protection still existed above moderate levels in a range of sectors. There is also no conclusive evidence showing that South Africa's trade reform had a major impact on poverty or employment.

    Policy successes and policy failures in agriculture and land reform in South Africa: The 1990s, pp 96-117: Nick Vink (University of Stellenbosch) & Johann Kirsten (University of Pretoria) draw on the most recent research to identify some policy successes and policy failures in agriculture and land reform in South Africa and then assess their significance to agriculture. The authors identify positive and negative externalities caused by policy-induced structural changes in the sector. They also analyse the positive and negative complementarities between these external effects. The effects of policy failure on the commercial and 'traditional' farming systems are examined separately.

    Mining in the 1990s, pp 118-58: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) discusses the transformation of the mining industry in the 1990s as gold ceased to be an engine of growth and the explosive growth of the platinum group of metals which led to that industry's output surpassing that of gold in 2000. Gold mining's declining output and real value acted as a drag upon the economy, even though it remained the country's principal employer of labour and was crucial to the balance of payments. The decline in employment on the gold mines was not balanced by growth in other branches of the mining industry, which exerted a deleterious effect upon the economy of the whole of southern Africa. Developments in 2000 consequently marked the end of an era for South Africa. However, with over three quarters of output exported, the mining industry had benefited from the long boom that was driving the American economy and much of the international economy in the 1990s, but these exogenous forces were not strong enough to pull the whole mining sector into real growth.

    Manufacturing during the 1990s: Facing up to trade liberalisation, pp 159-87: Colin McCarthy (University of Stellenbosch) considers the development of South African manufacturing in 1990s using the 1980s to provide an appropriate perspective. Manufacturing performance during the 1990s remained poor, with manufacturing value added in 2000 in real terms only 8,6 per cent higher than in 1990, but with 18 per cent fewer factory jobs in 2000 than in 1990. It would be less than wise to blame the lack of output and employment growth on the lowering of protection. Manufacturing had been protected for many decades and there can be little doubt that this protection contributed to the development of Africa's most formidable industrial capacity. The South African market is too small to maintain a sustainable inward-looking growth path: an outward-looking economy is inevitable.

    Innovation for globalisation or globalisation of innovation: Sasol in the chemical industry during the 1990s, pp 188-212: Grietjie Verhoef (Rand Afrikaans University)[17] describes how Sasol became a global player in the chemical industry in the 1990s. At the same time the company began to reduce its dependence on coal as a feedstock turning to natural gas and developing joint ventures with foreign oil companies. For Sasol the 1990s was a decade of far reaching change in both technology and in the scale of its international operations as it expanded from its original petroleum basis into related chemical products. The most important contribution of Sasol to industrial development in South Africa in the 1990s was innovation through applied research. The globalisation of Sasol's operations in mining explosives, beneficiated chemicals, synthetic fuels and related chemical products paved the way for the emergence of Sasol as a truly global company.

    The freight transport sector in the 1990s, pp 213-37: Trevor Jones (University of Natal)[18] gives a detailed analysis of the deterioration of the services provided by the freight transport sector in the 1990s as many long standing problems came to a head. By 1990 the South African transport sector possessed many apparent strengths. World-class bulk ports and rail systems transferred substantial volumes of low-value primary exports to world markets at low cost; fairly static volumes of general cargo flowed through a physically extensive rail infrastructure and increasingly by road between domestic centres and to and from ports that were adequately equipped; world-class national roads linked cities, some of whose residents enjoyed high levels of private car ownership; and commercial agriculture was reasonably well integrated into the broader transport infrastructure. However, other segments of the economy were significantly less well-served. Many rural communities were excluded from the transport network and peri-urban residents, distant from commuter rail services, were left to the mercies of chaotically-organised taxi and bus services. The overall picture of the South African freight transport sector in the 1990s was of a system that was large and sophisticated by regional standards, but one that coped increasingly poorly with several fundamental requirements.

    The banking sector in the 1990s, pp 238-74: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) argues that private enterprise was the driving force behind the expansion of the banking sector in the 1990s as the financial sector underwent very considerable structural change. The financial sector displayed considerable skill in meeting the challenges presented by the last years of sanctions followed by a global boom and increased competition at home. Banking functions were adapted and broadened, new financial enterprises established and the established banks restructured. The old building societies disappeared from the scene, followed by almost all the separate merchant banks. Not only did the sector adapt to increasing political interference in the form of unbridled affirmative action and threatened equity legislation to force financial institutions to hand over 25 per cent of their equity to Black empowerment groups, but it managed to grow at a much faster rate than the economy as a whole. Indeed, throughout the decade, the financial sector was increasing its contribution to GDP by 3,4 per cent a year. Banking was the driving force behind this achievement.

    Insurance in the 1990s: A. The long-term insurance market 1990-2000, pp 275-88: Brian C. Benfield & Robert W. Vivian (University of the Witwatersrand) show that rapid change characterised the long-term insurance industry in the 1990s. The most significant change was the large increase in withdrawals and the dramatic reduction in the significance of recurring premium business, traditionally the most important source of life office profits. At the same time the industry was becoming increasingly dependent upon premium income from pension funds not sold directly to the public. The increase in health insurance premiums, large though it was at 1 390 per cent, was not sufficient to counter the overall rise in withdrawal benefits. Change took place amongst the individual insurers, the most significant of which was the demutualisation of the Old Mutual and Sanlam. The Old Mutual listed on the London Stock Exchange. Both the Old Mutual and Sanlam experienced significant loss of market share.

    Insurance in the 1990s: B. The short-term insurance market 1990-2000, pp 289-309: Robert W. Vivian (University of the Witwatersrand) analyses the changes that took place in the short tern insurance industry during the 1990s. The decade opened with the market dealing with the aftermath of the collapse of the AA Mutual, a large short-term insurance company. As a consequence the supervisory legislation was revised and a voluntary ombudsman appointed. In 1994 optimism ruled as foreign insurers returned to the market. As the new government found its feet, it embarked on an extensive review of legislation affecting financial markets. The South African market was also being influenced by developments which took place overseas, in particular mergers and acquisitions. The market experienced difficulties in producing an underwriting profit. It started the decade making a loss and ended as it started. In the absence of sustainable underwriting profits, the short-term companies had to rely on investment income to survive.

    Government failure and state incapacity: The South African public sector in the 1990s, pp 310-31: Brian Dollery (University of New England) & Jen Snowball (Rhodes University) examine the role of the public sector in the South African economy during the 1990s and argue that government failure and the phenomenon of state incapacity have had a far-reaching and damaging effect on the economy. They divide the 1990s into two discrete and roughly equally long time periods. In the first place, the period 1990 to the 1994, protracted negotiations and political jockeying between the major forces in the South African political milieu occupied much of the state's attention. In the second period, 1994-2000, the policy paralysis and economic "shadow boxing" of the earlier period gave way to real policy formulation and implementation. Moreover, as policy failures accumulated and earlier overly optimistic economic growth forecasts evaporated, a new and much more pessimistic approach to economic policy making emerged. The collapse of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) revealed the extent of state incapacity. Efficient policy implementation at the microeconomic level was no longer a practical policy option.

    External trade in the 1990s, pp 332-65: Stuart Jones (University of South Africa) focuses on the significant changes in external trading patterns during the 1990s. The direction of trade was affected by the ending of embargoes, by the new government's identification with Third World causes and the Non-Aligned Movement, and by the new global environment. As a result, the base of South Africa's trade broadened and the importance of Europe declined. The last decade of the century was marked by an increase in market forces and the power of private enterprise. This was revealed in the widening range of manufactured commodities exported and the very rapid growth of a handful of consumer goods imported. Producer goods continued to dominate the flow of imports with an increasing number of items, such as computers, fulfilling a dual role as both producer good and consumer goods. The shift in the direction of trade away from Europe reflected the more rapid growth of markets elsewhere, as well as the emergence of new suppliers in the form of India, China and the Gulf oil producers. Both before and after the 1994 election, private enterprise took the lead in driving the country along on a wave of trade-led growth, the like of which had never previously been experienced.

    The South African balance of payments in the 1990s, pp 366-95: Philip Mohr (University of South Africa) offers an in depth analysis of the changes that occurred to South Africa's balance of payments in the 1990s. Between January 1990 and June 1994 there was a steady net outflow of capital not related to reserves of almost R27 billion, partly as a result of repayments of foreign debt emanating from the 1985 debt standstill arrangement. From the middle of 1994, once it became evident that South Africa's political transition would proceed relatively smoothly, the net outflow of capital changed to a net inflow, thus allowing the country to once again record deficits on the current account of the balance of payments. Although the ride was far from smooth, from July 1994 to December 1999 a total net inflow of capital of more than R84 billion was recorded.

    Volume 19(1&2), September 2004

    An analysis of provincial economic growth in South Africa 1991-2001, pp 1-17: A.M. Pretorius (University of South Africa) & P.F. Blaauw (Rand Afrikaans University)[19] show that South Africa's regional development policy underwent a definite change in character during the last decade by evaluating and comparing the economic growth performance of the various provinces. The policy evolved from being dominated by political criteria to one with greater emphasis on economic realities and constraints. They found that neither the level of exports nor the growth in exports was positively correlated with provincial growth. This questions the realism of government economists' advocating of export promotion as a development strategy. Each of South Africa's nine provinces has its own unique characteristics. It is therefore inappropriate to prescribe a universal recipe for the achievement of accelerated economic growth. At best, provincial governments can play a role to establish environments conducive to investment and the creation of new business.

    Modifications in South African exchange rate policies 1998-2001, pp 18-41: Roger Gidlow (formerly South African Reserve Bank) shows that there were significant changes in South Africa's exchange rate policies during this period. A more freely floating rand system was adopted, while exchange rate policies were also materially influenced by the attempts to reduce the net open foreign currency position of the South African Reserve Bank. In addition, exchange control measures were resorted to in an effort to support the rand exchange rate. The Reserve Bank's mandate from the government excluded any specific responsibility for the exchange rate policy of the country. Instead the bank had been appointed as an agent by the government for administering the exchange rate system.

    All those racial capitalists: Sampie Terreblanche's A history of inequality in South Africa, 1652-2002, pp 42-66: Henry Kenney (University of the Witwatersrand) evaluates Sampie Terreblanche's book on inequality in South Africa which argues that the whole period of White domination was marked by systemic Black exploitation. Kenney feels that if Terreblanche had bothered to keep in touch with developments in his own discipline rather than that in debased Marxism, he would undoubtedly have produced a more sophisticated analysis. Most unforgivably, because Terreblanche is an economic historian of sorts, he never refers to the overwhelming evidence produced by scholars in recent years about the close and global correlation between economic freedom and economic growth. Countries with the most economic freedom grow most rapidly. Instead, Terreblanche wants the state do mighty powerful things for the poor in South Africa.

    The wood from the trees: ex libri ad historiam pertinentes cognoscere, pp 67-99: W. Duncan Reekie (University of the Witwatersrand) examines the forestry industry in South Africa from its beginnings to the 1990s. He first briefly discusses the growth and control of private and state forests from the era of Dutch settlement through to early industrialisation. He then examines the shift from indigenous to plantation forests and then looks at how the forestry industry was used to mop up unemployment throughout much of the last century. He then notes how the pricing of the industry's output, mainly market-related until the late 1930s, was influenced by government to favour selected end-users. He concludes by summarising how the historic supply, demand and institutional features moulded the industry into the economically successful but contractually conflict-ridden situation it had become by the end of the twentieth century.

    Tobacco control in South Africa in the 1990s: A mix of advocacy, academic research and policy, pp 100-31: Corné van Walbeek (University of Cape Town), focuses on South Africa's tobacco control measures of the 1990s and shows how academic research, together with focused lobbying, had a major impact on government policy. The ANC-led government took a particularly strong approach against tobacco whereas the apartheid government was generally indifferent to, and even supportive of, the tobacco industry. He investigates how the change in policy unfolded going back to the 1960s. Lobbyists on both sides tried to influence government policy. The government, the tobacco control lobby, and the tobacco industry all used academic research to give weight to their arguments.

    Central bank independence before and after the democratisation of South Africa, pp 132-57: G.M. Wessels (University of the Free State) compares pre- and post-democratisation central bank independence (CBI) in South Africa to show the impact of political transformation on it. He does this by applying a collection of legal CBI criteria to the SARB to assess its independence. The results of his study show that CBI was strong, although far from perfect, during the pre-democratisation phase. In the post-democratisation phase, the ANC appointed governor, Tito Mboweni, not only respected the existing strong criteria of CBI but went further by establishing the Monetary Policy Committee which contributed to the independence and transparency of the bank.

    Volume 20(1), March 2005

    South African gold sales policies during the 1980s, pp 1-17: Roger Gidlow (formerly South African Reserve Bank) analyses South Africa's gold sales policies in the light of contemporary developments in the international gold markets during the 1980s and looks at the main changes in marketing arrangements. Gold sales were a focal point of interest because of the country's dominant position as a gold producer even though its production declined materially. Sales policies remained basically conservative although they were adapted to changing circumstances, which included the steady decline on balance in the dollar price of gold. In particular, the growth of gold futures and options markets created new opportunities for the marketing of South African gold. The escalation of trade sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s spurred new interest in the subject of the beneficiation.

    Agrarian change and commercialisation in Nyasaland: A tentative discussion from the perspective of Mzimba district 1938-1963, pp 18-39: Erik Green (Lund University) focuses on the structure and change of the smallholder farming communities in the Mzimba district of northern Nyasaland where the commercial estate sector was not established before the 1970s. His underlying argument is that the process of change in the Mzimba district can be described as an increased commercialisation and that this process has to be understood in terms of changes in the cultivators' access to productive resources (land, labour and capital) and markets. Markets and capital were the two most important factors in the commercialisation process and in both cases the state played a significant role in increasing their availability.

    The world paper famine and the South African press 1938-1955, pp 40-64: Adrian Hadland (Human Sciences Research Council & University of Cape Town) examines the immediate effects and the longer term implications of the shortage of newsprint on the the South African newspaper industry between 1938 and 1955. As a result all South African newspapers underwent significant cuts in the number of pages they could publish. His study of the world paper famine's effect on the South African press attempts to achieve two central objectives: (1) to illustrate the extent to which economic events, relations and strategies underpin almost every aspect of newspaper production; (2) to indicate how these economic relations served to further concentrate and regulate the industry, binding it in an ever closer relationship to the state.

    Government and sustainable development in South Africa: The environmental legislative framework in historical context, pp 65-82: Anthony Lumby (University of KwaZulu-Natal) explores the development of the notion of sustainable development and the major environmental problems that have manifested themselves in South Africa. This is because the neo-classical model of environmental economics has been challenged as a suitable tool for the resolution of environmental problems. He goes on to examine the role of the state, as both a cause of, and a potential solution to, these problem. He then comments on recent developments.

    Reading the politics from the migration and urbanisation process in Whittlesea, Eastern Cape, since 1828, pp 83-108: Ronald Mears (University of Johannesburg) exposes the effects of political developments in South Africa on Whittlesea and its surrounding subregion in the Eastern Cape. Population settlement there was more the result of political events than spontaneous growth. He analyses the migration and urbanisation process from the first settlement in 1828 and argues that urbanisation has had a disequilibrating effect on population distribution and the settlement character of the Whittlesea subregion. The evolution of the independent national state of Ciskei from Native reserve, bantutstan, homeland and back again as part of the RSA has influenced these developments. He feels that urbanisation can only have meaningful economic and human development if it is utilised correctly.

    South African consumer price inflation in a historical and global context, pp 109-30: T.M. Mokoena, L. Rangasamy, J.A. Swanepoel & F.J. Visser (South African Reserve Bank) analyse the trend in South African consumer prices in a global and historical context. Their primary concern is ascertaining how South African consumer prices have evolved over time in relation to other countries. They do this by providing an historical review of inflation trends in South Africa and compare South African CPI with other countries because of the globalisation of the South African economy during the 1990s. Against this background, they analyse the direct impact of foreign CPI shocks on local CPI. There can be little doubt that the economic reforms implemented since 1994 have played an important part in the disinflationary process in South Africa, especially the adoption inflation targeting.

    Lessons from Affirmative action around the world, pp 131-38: Stuart Jones (University of the Witwatersrand) believes that Thomas Sowell's brilliant empirical study[20] of affirmative action is a devastating condemnation of the corruption and political opportunism behind the introduction and implementation of affirmative action policies in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and the United States. Its arguments, however, could be just as easily applied to South Africa and Zimbabwe, though these key areas are not included in the book. Nowhere has affirmative action succeeded in helping those it was designed to assist and everywhere it has led to a worsening in race relations. Sadly, its message is unlikely to be heeded by the South African government, which seems determined to ignore the lessons of the successful Asian tigers and to continue blaming its failings on past events.

    Volume 20(2), September 2005

    The collapse of the rand in 2001 and the effectiveness of exchange controls in South Africa, pp 1-18: Roger Gidlow (formerly South African Reserve Bank) looks at the South African authorities, with the rand on its knees in late 2001, freezing all new offshore investments by local financial institutions in early 2002 in an effort to furnish support for the beleaguered rand and direct more investments into the local economy. He reviews these moves and assesses the effectiveness of exchange controls in general in an environment where significant partial relaxations in exchange controls had already taken place. In the process he argues that the exchange control authorities were facing mounting difficulties in effectively administering the remaining exchange control system, which in turn called into question the rationale for exchange controls at all.

    The role of new technology in the South African textile industry's quest for survival in the 1990s, pp 19-47: Rachel Jafta (University of Stellenbosch) looks at how the South African textile industry adapted to increased foreign competition after 1994. Many firms saw the introduction of new technology as a means of dealing with these challenges. Of particular interest to her are the decision to invest in new technology, the process of acquisition and implementation, and changes in organisational processes, routines and competences. From her analysis, two broad problem areas emerge: the firms' behaviour with respect to labour and the apparent mismatch between the nature and requirements of the new technology and the organisational structure of management and production. Investing in new technology was a necessary but not sufficient strategy for the successful rejuvenation of firms in a mature industry. Complementary changes, such as in organisational structure, use of human resources, supply chain relations, and product and market mix, are also of crucial importance.

    The role of American mining technology and American mining engineers in the Witwatersrand gold mining industry 1890-1910, pp 48-82: Elaine Katz (University of the Witwatersrand) shows how the gold mining industry, with the assistance of predominantly American mining engineers, achieved an enormous gold output notwithstanding the high costs of both capital and labour. In spite of the international low cost of investible funds, capital costs were high. Quite apart from heavy expenditure on development, these capital costs included: the high risk premium (amortisation) demanded for investing on the Witwatersrand; and the inflated costs of machinery because of the distance from its source and high transport costs. American engineers played a significant role in mechanising the Witwatersrand gold mines and organising the industry which was the biggest employer of labour in South Africa, the largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the largest exporter, and the greatest spur to economic growth.

    The management of South Africa's water resources with particular reference to the period 1956-1998, pp 83-108: Anthony Lumby (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Mampiti Matete (University of Lesotho) & Juliana Rwelamira (University of Pretoria) review the historical and environmental contexts that have given rise to the new Water Act of 1998, and offer a preliminary assessment of the likely effectiveness of the use of economic instruments in water demand management for South Africa. The previous government enacted the Water Act of 1956, which regulated the use of water in South Africa until 1998. During that 40-year period, water resource management focused on the allocation of available water supply to meet the needs of the more developed sectors of the economy. In short, there existed a policy of water supply management. The election of the African National Congress government in 1994 was followed by a thorough review of the Water Act of 1956, which gave rise to the new Water Act of 1998 which saw the shift from supply management to demand management.

    Treating White poverty in interwar South Africa: 'Civilised labour' and the construction of Groote Schuur Hospital 1926-1938, pp 109-30: Howard Phillips (University of Cape Town) sees the Groote Schuur Hospital construction project as giving direction to the wider policy of 'civilised labour', which exacted a high price on those banished to the edge of or entirely beyond the racially exclusive circle of 'civilisation'. The project's contribution to 'scientifically' proving the economic case for 'civilised labour' in general and the superiority of White over Coloured labour in particular, lent credence to the state's policy of favouring the former against the latter in the employment of 'civilised labour' nationally after 1929.

    The changing popularity of economics at South African universities 1991-1999, pp 131-44: R.P. Viljoen (University of South Africa) contrasts the rising popularity of economics at South African universities with the declining interest internationally. He finds the local increase is mainly the result of the popularity of economics among Black students and is a function of employment opportunities and the role played by the government's policy of affirmative action. On the other hand, White students, like their international counterparts, are increasingly turning towards other fields of study. There can be little doubt that the rise of econometrics and the mathematisation of economics have both damaged the discipline's reputation in the English-speaking world. It appears to have taken the individual out of the economic processes without providing clear guidance either to individuals or governments. Until the time arrives when Black students also move in increasing numbers into professional occupations, economics is likely to remain a popular subject in South Africa.


    The South African Journal of Economic History proudly enters its third decade as an independant academic journal with this issue and the prospect of many more to come. Hopefully, the preceding 20 volumes, 31 issues, 221 articles and almost two million words have laid a solid foundation that can be securely built upon by South African economic historians in the future.


  1. For summaries and a list of all the articles published in Volumes 1 to 10, see Jon Inggs, "The first decade", South African Journal of Economic History, 11(1), March 1996, pp 5-57. The article is available on the Internet along with a listing of all the articles published in the journal to date:
  2. Now incorporated into the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  3. Now incorporated into the University of Johannesburg.
  4. Now incorporated into the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
  5. Now incorporated into North-West University.
  6. Now incorporated into the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  7. Now incorporated into the University of Johannesburg.
  8. Now incorporated into the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  9. Now incorporated into the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  10. Now incorporated into the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
  11. Now incorporated into the University of Johannesburg.
  12. P. Wickins, "Agricultural revolution in South Africa", South African Journal of Economic History, 4(2), 1989, p 114
  13. S. Jones & A. Müller, The South African economy, 1910-90, Basingstoke, 1992, p 236
  14. Now incorporated into the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  15. Now incorporated into the University of Johannesburg.
  16. Now incorporated into the University of Johannesburg.
  17. Now incorporated into the University of Johannesburg.
  18. Now incorporated into the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  19. Now incorporated into the University of Johannesburg.
  20. Thomas Sowell, Affirmative action around the world, New Haven (Conn), 2004

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