The Direct Democracy Forum’s (the DDF’s) perception of trade and industry in South Africa is that historically it has been driven largely by ideological considerations.

Pre-Republic it was driven by colonialist concerns and the mining industry.  Post-republic and during the apartheid era it attached itself to the West as an opponent of Soviet Imperialism, but, as a rogue state because of apartheid, set up trade ties with other ‘rogue states’, notably Israel, Iran and Argentina.  They were all the ‘bad boys’ of the world club, for one or another reason, and as a result gravitated politically toward one another.

Now, in the post apartheid era, the pendulum has swung and ANC led governments favour trade and bilateral arrangements with those states who supported the ANC in it’s struggle against apartheid.  This  includes, ironically, Iran and Argentina, but in a different guise to those which the apartheid government dealt with. 

More recently, South Africa’s joining the BRIC countries to form a ideological BRICS bond, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, based, so it is asserted, on their common status as emerging markets.  The DDF has some trouble finding commonalities to warrant that identity, but for the moment it is a political reality so we must deal with it, and it is not without advantages.  

The point being; South Africa is again dealing from an ideological standpoint rather than an economic standpoint.  Many of SA’s traditional trade partners are being relegated to a sort of second-class limbo and SA businesses who trade with these countries are being afforded little support by the SA Government, with negative results for trade and employment in SA.

These are the perceptions on which we are basing our response to SA’s trade needs.