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Same as the old boss

The success of the new South Africa depends on what happens in its factories and offices, which in turn depends on organised labour. David Honigmann considers whether the unions, central to bringing down apartheid, can now contain black aspirations

By David Honigmann   December 1995

If white South Africa were a separate country, it would be roughly as rich as Spain. Black South Africa would be closer to Azerbaijan. To repair the divisions left by decades of apartheid, the government has embarked on an ambitious reconstruction and development programme, talismanically shortened to RDP. But it faces a dilemma: most RDP projects, such as housing, education and health, require large amounts of government spending, all of which require sustained economic growth. The key to achieving this will come in the workplace-the only arena where white and black South Africans regularly mingle. Only if industrial peace can…

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