Beyond Marikana: The Post-Apartheid South African State

Vishwas Satgar

Abstract


This article situates the Marikana massacre, in which 34 mine workers were gunned down by police in South Africa, in the context of what the South African state has become, and questions the characterisation of the post-Apartheid state as a “developmental state”. This contribution first highlights what is at stake when the post-Apartheid state is portrayed as a “developmental state” and how this misrecognition of the state is ideologically constituted. Second, it argues for an approach to understanding the post-Apartheid state by locating it within the context of the rise of transnational neoliberalism and the process of indigenising neoliberalism on the African continent. Third, it examines the actual economic practices of the state that constitute it as an Afro-neoliberal state. Such economic practices are historicised to show the convergence between the post-Apartheid state and the ideal type neoliberal state coming to the fore in the context of global neoliberal restructuring and crisis management. The article concludes by recognising that South Africa’s deep globalisation and globalised state affirm a form of state practice beyond utilising market mechanisms that includes perpetrating violence to secure its existence. Marikana makes this point.

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