Since 1994, the democratic government in South Africa has worked hard at improving the lives of the black majority, yet close to half the population lives in poverty, jobs are scarce, and the country is more unequal than ever. For millions, the colour of a person's skin still decides their destiny. In its wide-ranging, incisive and provocative analysis, South Africa Pushed to the Limit shows that although the legacies of apartheid and colonialism weigh heavy, many of the strategic choices made since the early 1990s have compounded those handicaps. The economy remains dominated by a handful of large conglomerates that are now entwined in the circuitry of the global economy. The government, meanwhile, has squandered crucial leverage in a series of miscalculations and errors. The social costs have been punishing. Marais explains why those choices were made, where they went awry, and why South Africa's vaunted formations of the left – old and new – have failed to prevent or alter them.
Building on his acclaimed book Limits to Change, Marais examines South Africa's most pressing issues – from the real reasons behind President Jacob Zuma's rise and the purging of his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, and how the African National Congress reproduces its power, to a devastating critique of the country's continuing AIDS crisis, its economic path and its approach to the rights and entitlements of citizens. South Africa Pushed to the Limit presents a riveting, benchmark analysis of the incomplete journey beyond apartheid
Fifteen years after becoming a multiracial democracy, South Africa arguably is the most unequal society on earth. The lofty hopes that greeted the end of apartheid now seem dwarfed by rampant poverty and unemployment, political feuding and the scourge of deadly disease.
By critically surveying South Africa’s route to liberation and the balance of forces that has shaped the past 15 years, this book provides a benchmark critical analysis of the long journey beyond apartheid.