• home Home
  • keyboard_arrow_right NEWS
  • keyboard_arrow_right Posts
  • keyboard_arrow_rightAre calls for an economic CODESA justified?

Are calls for an economic CODESA justified?

By Ndumiso Hadebe

A dear friend once shared a thought-provoking story with me; one such story that dates back to the days of the slave trade. Of a ship that had just captured people to become a part of this illicit trade somewhere along the Gulf of Guinea and the ship was hovering somewhere along the Atlantic Ocean. Naturally, because this form of commerce was based upon the inhumane and self-interested deeds of one to the other, those who were on the receiving end of the stick were unjustifiably oppressed and had every right to resist their own oppression.

The slave traders were based on the top of the cabin in this ship and the slaves were located in the bottom lower compartments of the ship so as to use their energies to steer the ship forward whilst the slave traders were comfortably directing the ship to whichsoever destination they wished. Over time, the slaves found creative ways to communicate with each other in a way that would not solicit the attention of the guards and organised themselves for the take-over of the ship and they would once again, have their freedom and opportunity to self-determine.

The day of reckoning came and their orchestrated plan was a success. They successfully overthrew the slave traders off the ship and now had complete control over it. Days after the overthrowing of the slave traders and with the ship still hovering over the Atlantic Ocean, one of the slaves (who was no longer a slave) posed this question to his compatriots; ‘Dear Compatriots, we have endured a common struggle and made use of our God-given ingenuity and sense of common purpose to share in a common victory today – we do. Therefore, dare I ask, now that we have our freedom and opportunity to self-determine – where are we going with this ship?’

Albeit, not exactly, we could associate similarities between SA’s democratic transition to that of the story that my good friend shared with me. However, in our case, we have tangible documents with which we can reference the aspirations we had in process of the transition.

Part of reflecting on the 25 years of our democratic dispensation ought to entail that we interrogate how far we have come not only in terms of our own or aggregated material conditions but by what some of the founding documents of the democratic order envisaged we would be.

One such point of reflection can be located in the work of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa in the early 1990s either wise known as CODESA. A quarter of a century later there are growing calls for an economic CODESA, these clarion calls stem from a slow pace of growth but not has not been as inclusive and transformed as was envisaged. More so, between what is coined today as the first and second economy as phrased by former President Mbeki.

“The first economy referring to one side of the South African economy that is white, relatively prosperous regardless of gender or geographic dispersal – it has ready access to a developed economy, physical, educational communication and other infrastructure. But the second and larger nation of South Africa is black and poor, with the worst affected being women in rural areas, the black rural population in general and those with disabilities. And this nation lives under conditions of a grossly underdeveloped economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure – it has virtually no possibility to exercise what in reality amongst a theoretical right to equal opportunity. “

A case for an economic CODESA?

The Codesa negotiations that took place in December 1991 involved 19 groups and parties, including the ANC, the now-defunct National Party, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Party (which is now the Democratic Alliance) and the SA Communist Party. CODESA 1 and 2 set the framework of the democratic order that SA upholds to this day, including a one-man, one-vote system wherein its citizens can vote in free and fair elections for the political party of their choice that best reflects their hopes and aspirations.

The latest “Poverty Trends in South Africa” by Stats SA illustrates that, despite the general decline in poverty between 2006 and 2011, poverty levels in South Africa rose in 2015. More than half of South Africans were poor in 2015, with the poverty headcount increasing to 55,5% from a series low of 53,2% in 2011. The figures are calculated using the upper-bound poverty line of R992 per person per month in 2015 prices. This translates into over 30,4 million South Africans living in poverty in 2015. Albeit, the headcount of people living in impoverished conditions increased, the situation has improved compared to 10 years earlier.

A combination of weak economic growth, continuing high unemployment levels, bearish commodity prices, higher consumer prices, policy uncertainty, lower investment levels compounded by other international factors between the 2011 and 2015 period led to muted productivity gains. The resultant outcome of that has been a decline in the financial health of SA households.

Part of the central challenges that faced CODESA after numerous Working Groups and sub-groups on wide-ranging issues was to completely transform the economy of SA from having a racial face as referenced in the conceptualization of the first and second economy.

The Living Conditions Survey by Stats SA paints a picture that says the following from data collected from 23,380 households across the country over a period of 12 months (2014/2015). The average income in South Africa is approximately R138,168 per annum, with the biggest portion derived primarily from work. Other income sources include capital gains, pensions and allowances, and rent. The data shows that white South Africans still command the highest average incomes in the country at approximately R444,446 a year. This is over 1.5 times greater than Indians/Asians at R271,621 per year, and almost 5 times more than black South Africans, at R92,893 per year. Labour market discrepancies, a loss of competitiveness and structural impediments are but some of the factors that have contributed to not changing this picture.

And so perhaps, the call for an economic CODESA is so as to give as much attention, creativity and ingenuity to the unemployment problem as we did when it came to the formation of a constitutional democracy and a relatively peaceful transition. A starting point in such a convention would be to acutely look at unemployment from the perspective of what is in our control to create a dent in it. Examining the role of supply side policies in terms of industrial policy, the fiscal allocation of resources and prudent management thereof and monetary policy in ensuring that the purchasing power of consumers is not eroded whilst creating a favourable environment for risk takers to access capital to start new businesses.

Considerations for reducing unemployment

The biggest sector contributing to the nominal GDP in SA is Business Services and Finance, with sectors like Manufacturing, Agriculture and Mining having lost their competitiveness over the last 20 years. Changing market conditions are a consequence of this, we can certainly shield industries domestically but we cannot shield them from international markets. Thus, our share of global exports as a percentage of GDP has also been in decline.

It therefore becomes crucial to support labour intensive and productive industries in SA by making them as competitive as possible with respect to skills, wages, market prices and the requisite infrastructure and ecosystem that would support that kind of goal.

The increased fiscal allocation to education and training to students that come from households that earn less than R350 000 was a key milestone in broadening access to skills development and training of medium to higher skill sets that the economy currently demands. It is also pertinent because the unemployment rate amongst graduates is below 5% which indicates that there is a correlation between graduates and being economically active. Such a convention would also have to deal with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the form of machine learning, automation in labour intensive sectors that intend to have efficiency and productivity gains, quantum computing and artificial intelligence and where that locates workers, wages and the role of the basic and higher education sector in an evolving climate. And so, 25 years later it is perhaps a pertinent to reflect and ask ourselves if indeed we are still steering this ship called SA into the direction that we had envisaged taking it.

Written by: Zuko


UpComing Shows

DownLoad Our Mobile App

Privacy Policy


POPIA ActTo promote the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies; to introduce certain conditions so as to establish minimum requirements for the processing of personal information; to provide for the establishment of an Information Regulator to exercise certain powers and to perform certain duties and functions in terms of this Act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000; to provide for the issuing of codes of conduct; to provide for the rights of persons regarding unsolicited electronic communications and automated decision making; to regulate the flow of personal information across the borders of the Republic; and to provide for matters connected therewith.


  • section 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that everyone has the right to privacy;
  • the right to privacy includes a right to protection against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information;
  • the State must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights;


  • consonant with the constitutional values of democracy and openness, the need for economic and social progress, within the framework of the information society, requires the removal of unnecessary impediments to the free flow of information, including personal information;


  • regulate, in harmony with international standards, the processing of personal information by public and private bodies in a manner that gives effect to the right to privacy subject to justifiable limitations that are aimed at protecting other rights and important interests,
  1. Definitions and Interpretation

1.1.“Personal Information” means information relating to an identifiable, living, natural person and where it is applicable, identifiable, existing juristic person, including all information as defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013. 

1.2  Parliament assented to POPIA on 19 November 2013. The commencement date of section 1Part A of Chapter 5section 112 and section 113 was 11 April 2014. The commencement date of the other sections was 1 July 2020 (with the exception of section 110 and 114(4). The President of South Africa has proclaimed the POPI commencement date to be 1 July 2020.

1.3. “Processing” means the creation, generation, communication, storage, destruction of personal information as more fully defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013.  

1.4. “You” or the “user” means any person who accesses and browses this website for any purpose. 

1.4. “Website” means the website of the KAYA 959 at URL or such other URL as KAYA 959 may choose from time to time.   

  1. Status and Amendments

2.1. KAYA 959 respects your privacy. This privacy policy statement sets out KAYA 959’s information gathering and dissemination practices in respect of the Website. 

2.2. This Privacy Policy governs the processing of personal information provided to KAYA 959 through your use of the Website. 

2.3. Please note that, due to legal and other developments, KAYA 959 may amend these terms and conditions from time to time.  

  1. Processing of Personal Information

3.1. By providing your personal information to KAYA 959 you acknowledge that it has been collected directly from you and consent to its processing by KAYA 959. 

3.2. Where you submit Personal Information (such as name, address, telephone number and email address) via the website (e.g. through completing any online form) the following principles are observed in the processing of that information: 

3.2.1. KAYA 959 will only collect personal information for a purpose consistent with the purpose for which it is required. The specific purpose for which information is 
collected will be apparent from the context in which it is requested. 

3.2.2. KAYA 959 will only process personal information in a manner that is adequate, relevant and not excessive in the context of the purpose for which it is processed. 

3.2.3. Personal information will only be processed for a purpose compatible with that for which it was collected, unless you have agreed to an alternative purpose in writing or KAYA 959 is permitted in terms of national legislation of general application dealing primarily with the protection of personal information. 

3.2.4. KAYA 959 will keep records of all personal Information collected and the specific purpose for which it was collected for a period of 1 (one) year from the date on which it was last used. 

3.2.5. KAYA 959 will not disclose any personal information relating to you to any third party unless your prior written agreement is obtained or KAYA 959 is required to do so by law. 

3.2.6. If personal information is released with your consent KAYA 959 will retain a record of the information released, the third party to which it was released, the reason for the release and the date of release, for a period of 1 (one) year from the date on which it was last used. 

3.2.7. KAYA 959 will destroy or delete any personal information that is no longer needed by KAYA 959 for the purpose it was initially collected, or subsequently processed. 

3.3. Note that, as permitted by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002, KAYA 959 may use personal information collected to compile profiles for statistical purposes. No information contained in the profiles or statistics will be able to be linked to any specific user.    

  1. Collection of anonymous data

4.1. KAYA 959 may use standard technology to collect information about the use of this website. This technology is not able to identify individual users but simply allows KAYA 959 to collect statistics. 

4.2. KAYA 959 may utilise temporary or session cookies to keep track of users’ browsing habits. A cookie is a small file that is placed on your hard drive in order to keep a record of your interaction with this website and facilitate user convenience. 

4.2.1. Cookies by themselves will not be used to identify users personally but may be used to compile identified statistics relating to use of services offered or to provide KAYA 959 with feedback on the performance of this website. 

4.2.2. The following classes of information may be collected in respect of users who have enabled cookies: The browser software used; IP address; Date and time of activities while visiting the website; URLs of internal pages visited; and referrers. 

4.3. If you do not wish cookies to be employed to customize your interaction with this website it is possible to alter the manner in which your browser handles cookies. Please note that, if this is done, certain services on this website may not be available. 

  1. Security

5.1. KAYA 959 takes reasonable measures to ensure the security and integrity of information submitted to or collected by this website, but cannot under any circumstances be held liable for any loss or other damage sustained by you as a result of unlawful access to or dissemination of any personal information by a third party. 

  1. Links to other websites

6.1. KAYA 959 has no control over and accepts no responsibility for the privacy practices of any third party websites to which hyperlinks may have been provided and KAYA 959 strongly recommends that you review the privacy policy of any website you visit before using it further. 

  1. Queries

7.1. If you have any queries about this privacy policy please contact us by emailing [email protected]