In This Review

South Africa: Limits to Change
South Africa: Limits to Change
By Hein Marais
St. Martin's Press, 1998, 302 pp.

South Africans who regard the economic orthodoxy of the International Monetary Fund as self-evident truth have welcomed the conversion of the ruling African National Congress to fiscal conservatism. In contrast, leftist critics condemn what they see as the party's betrayal of working-class interests in a country where income inequalities are among the world's highest. Marais, a radical writer, presents a subtle and stimulating leftist critique, contending that the ANC's commitment to redistribution was always ambiguous. He charges that its failure to develop technical expertise in economic policymaking left it vulnerable to the influence of big business, while its allies in the Communist Party and the labor movement were unable to contribute persuasive policy input in the crucial years from 1990 to 1996. In a searching assessment of the South African left, Marais adopts a Gramscian approach to suggest how the country's marginalized majority could topple South Africa's slowly consolidating ruling bloc.