From the RDP to the NDP: A critical appraisal of the developmental state, land reform, and rural development in South Africa
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After decades of neoliberal rule in which market forces held pre-eminence in shaping development, there has in recent years been a resurgence of an activist developmental state in promoting economic development and tackling poverty and inequality. This article explores the resurgence of developmental state thinking in South Africa. Specifically, the article critically appraises the functioning of the post-apartheid state as it relates to land reform and rural development and argues that a weak bureaucracy and a policy fixation on the neoliberal willing buyer, willing seller policy framework militates against the promotion of a thorough-going land reform and rural development programme to promote rural livelihoods. We argue that South Africa needs a developmental state that will construct a skilled and competent bureaucracy, a centralised planning agency with the power to coordinate and ensure that government departments work together, and that will actively intervene in the economy to meet developmental objectives.