Structural shifts in the post-Apartheid SA economy

Structural shifts in the post-Apartheid SA economy

A new tralac Working Paper by John Stuart examines structural shifts in the real economy of South Africa spanning the period from the mid ’90s to the end of the 2000s. The changes during this period were significant – South Africa made a bold offer to the WTO, the SACU agreement was renegotiated, the SADC Trade Protocol was concluded; and very importantly there was significant reform of domestic policy.

In order to establish a consistent basis for analysis, two identically-sized Social Accounting Matrices (SAMs) are compared. These SAMs offer as near a complete and consistent picture of the real South African economy as is possible. The internal consistency of a SAM (i.e. its capturing of the entire circular flow of value) makes it a valuable tool for analysis, and when two identical SAMs are available for different periods; valuable comparative data may be generated.

Results for changes to the main account totals in the macro SAM indicate that the largest increases are for high-skilled labour, capital and the government. Tertiary sector production activities are all above the median, whereas secondary production activities are below the median. This tells us that the manufacturing sector is in decline and the services sector is on the rise. The primary sector shows no change from the base year.

Secondly, high skilled labour has shown a large increase in its account total. This is interesting, because factor payments to households have not increased in net, implying that this large increase has been offset by a decrease in payments to households.

Thirdly, unskilled and semi-skilled labour categories are the biggest losers over the period. The evidence of this shift is clearly seen in the large levels of unemployment currently seen in the country.

Find out more in the working paper: Structural Shifts in the Post-Apartheid SA Economy: A Comparative SAM Analysis


pdf SA economy: Circular flow Infographic (361 KB) - January 2018

pdf SA economy: Losers and gainers Infographic (375 KB) - January 2018

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