ABSTRACT

In February 1990, South African State President F.W.de Klerk unbanned all major opposition groups in South Africa and declared that his government intended to ‘normalize the political process in South Africa without jeopa. ising the maintenance of the good order’ (Southern Africa Report 9 February 1990, p. 2). The ‘good order’ has been imperilled since then by political violence and intimidation and by ‘a remarkable increase in industrial strikes around the country’ (The Star 10 June 1994). And yet in a domestic context of political unrest, social disorder, and slowed economic growth, a South African indicator of business confidence rose in May 1994 to its highest level since December 1987. The ‘peaceful transition to democracy’ supposedly taking place in the country was cited by the South African Chamber of Business (Business Day 7 June 1994) as the reason for such optimism. If that one factor outweighs all others in business assessments of the future, it is because of the wide-ranging effects of a normalizing polity.