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The changing face and strategies of big business in South Africa: more than a decade of political democracy

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  • Neo Chabane
  • Simon Roberts
  • Andrea Goldstein

Abstract

Under the apartheid regime, South African business was marked by a high degree of concentration, both in terms of ownership and activities; indeed, it could be argued that this concentration was both created by and reinforced the exclusions linked to apartheid. In this paper, we identify the main changes that have characterized South Africa's big business since democracy in 1994--unbundling of traditional conglomerates, transfer of primary listing to overseas stock exchanges, and slow emergence of black-owned economic groups. These changes are related to key policy actions taken by government, including liberalization, black economic empowerment (BEE) policies, and competition policies. We demonstrate that South Africa still maintains its own distinctive features, including the very large, although reduced, weight of a few conglomerates, while evolving toward structures more similar to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) norms. Finally, we argue that the policy emphasis on ownership transfers, combined with limits in the enforcement of competition policies, has restricted the capacity to generate additional jobs and meet the ultimate objectives of BEE. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Neo Chabane & Simon Roberts & Andrea Goldstein, 2006. "The changing face and strategies of big business in South Africa: more than a decade of political democracy," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 549-577, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:15:y:2006:i:3:p:549-577
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrews, Matthew, 2008. "Is Black Economic Empowerment a South African Growth Catalyst? (Or Could It Be...)," Working Paper Series rwp08-033, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Aradhna Aggarwal, 2008. "Anti-dumping Protection: Who Gets It? An Exploratory Analysis of Anti-dumping Use in the Most Active User Countries," Working Papers id:1374, eSocialSciences.
    3. Isaacs, Gilad, 2014. "The myth of “neutrality” and the rhetoric of “stability”: macroeconomic policy in democratic South Africa," MPRA Paper 54426, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Matt Andrews, 2008. "Is Black Economic Empowerment a South African Growth Catalyst? (Or Could it Be...)," CID Working Papers 170, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    5. Bindu Arya & Gaiyan Zhang, 2009. "Institutional Reforms and Investor Reactions to CSR Announcements: Evidence from an Emerging Economy," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(7), pages 1089-1112, November.
    6. Collins Ntim & Teerooven Soobaroyen, 2013. "Black Economic Empowerment Disclosures by South African Listed Corporations: The Influence of Ownership and Board Characteristics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 121-138, August.
    7. Hyejun Kim & Jaeyong Song, 2017. "Filling institutional voids in emerging economies: The impact of capital market development and business groups on M&A deal abandonment," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(3), pages 308-323, April.

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