Original Research

The Black Industrialist Programme’s prospects to the advancement of developmental state in South Africa

Mlondi Vilakazi, Candice Moore
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 11, No 1 | a602 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v11i1.602 | © 2023 Mlondi Vilakazi, Candice Moore | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 September 2021 | Published: 07 February 2023

About the author(s)

Mlondi Vilakazi, Graduate School of Business and Leadership, College of Law and Management, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Candice Moore, School of Social Sciences, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: South Africa has made considerable progress in terms of economic development since the dawn of democracy in 1994. However, the pace and distribution of that progress have not been equitably reflected across all demographics, especially between black and white people. With a decline of manufacturing, the ‘developmental state’ has featured as a strong theme to try and reignite industrialisation in the country. Under this framework, one of the policies driven by the South African government is the Black Industrialist Programme, which aims to increase the manufacturing output while empowering black people.

Aim: To investigate the appropriateness of the Black Industrialist Programme as a policy to advance the developmental state framework in South Africa.

Setting: Experience in East Asia regarding developmental states led countries like South Africa to believe that they can also implement such policies to enable the country to industrialise.

Methods: The study employed qualitative research methods using open-ended interviews for primary data and documents collected from various sources for secondary data. The study’s qualitative description of the findings derives from the themes that emerged from the research and which employed open-ended questions and research techniques in line with such research techniques.

Results: Findings show that the Black Industrialist Programme policy will have an impact, as its funding model is a significant shift from past practices by assisting aspiring industrialists through grants and preferential procurement measures. However, the study argues that the shift from focusing on general industrialisation to narrowing it to black industrialisation brings with it new constraints in advancing a developmental state.

Conclusions: The research concludes that the programme will contribute to the developmental state concept’s progress but will be limited in praxis because the state does not possess a holistic overarching economic developmental plan.

Contribution: The study contributes to the analytical discourse of developmental states by offering context-specific analysis of industrialisation paths for societies addressing racial and economic inequality.


developmental states; black industrialists; Black Economic Empowerment; industrialisation; manufacturing


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