ANC billionaires

ANC billionaires

A new book has just arrived on the scene, The ANC Billionaires. It analyses the intertwined development from the 1980s on of political and economic activities and decisions which have resulted in the present state of South Africa, with a small group of stupendously wealthy entrepreneurs, politicians and others, and gross inequalities elsewhere coupled with endemic corruption. In teasing these things out it identifies a number of key small groups of men – all men – who have played particularly important roles in this process. Its focus is on tracing out the details of their involvements over time.

Its title and subtitle deliver in the detail of the book. And this detail is important and makes fascinating reading. However, it does not go quite as far as it might, analytically speaking. Each chapter contains comments, usually at the end, about the widespread corruption in South Africa, which the author, Pieter Du Toit, sees as now irreversible. But what is not discussed is the detail of how the largely legitimate activities of these entrepreneurs and others are linked to corrupt practices by others. Some ideas about this can be placed together from other comments, and in particular the mechanisms by which black economic empowerment (BEE) has been conceived and used, and which contained the seeds of this. But there are other factors involved as well, including at the myriad of local levels, and these remain elusive. The reader has to do a lot of work, and bring to their reading a lot of pre-existing knowledge, to piece together what is involved. A bit of a pity, for otherwise this is a most excellent account. Nonetheless, it is sure to appeal to a very wide readership of interested and concerned people.

Pieter Du Toit (2022) The ANC Billionaires: Big Capital‘s Gambit and the Rise of the Few Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publisher.

Last updated: 3 November 2022


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Last updated: 2 November 2022


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