From Import-Substitution Industrialisation (ISI) to Neo-Liberalism
Lucas Nkosana Sibuyi (Rhodes University)

Theories, some underpinned by -ISMS have hegemonised ideological, intellectual and
academic thinking, elucidation, analysis, uses and abuses for aeons. Neo-liberalism is but one of the theoretical frameworks. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the gravitation from South Africa’s import-substitution-industrialisation (ISI) to neo-liberalism. This paper strongly contest the widespread view, associated with neo classical economics, that countries develop best through free markets, there is no doubt secondary industrialisation in South Africa rested upon extensive state intervention. It was due to state intervention from the 1920s that South Africa moved from the role of supplying the West with raw materials for manufacturing, into developing an economy centred on a local manufacturing sector (Lumby, 1983: 196. 220). The move from light industry, mainly serving the mines or local consumer goods with natural protection (bricks, some food, paint etc.) involved import-substitution-industrialisation (ISI) (Kemp, 1991). The ISI model was subsequently abandoned from the 1970s, which saw a profound shift in South African economic and industrial policy and a major restructuring of parastatals like ESKOM, ISCOR and SASOL. This paper examines these developments, the late apartheid move towards neo-liberalism and analyse the neo liberal shape of postapartheid economic policy.