For this strategy text book that I’m contributing to I’m refreshing the work I did on my thesis a few years ago, reading up on the Mont Fleur Scenarios. All the main manner were there – Tito, Trevor and my hypothesis (when I did the thesis) was that it was at Mont Fleur in 1991/1992 that the ANC seriously changed direction on economic policy from populist to conservative.
Last year when I invited Vincent Maphai (also a Mont Fleur participant) to talk to our Business Science students at UCT, I asked him before the lecture how much of ANC economic policy had been influenced by Mont Fleur. He took a moment to think and then said although he was a humble man and he didn’t want me to think that he was inflating the story, but, and this is the big but, the ANC economic policy was effectively born at Mont Fleur.
It does make sense if you consider that a few days before his release in 1990, Nelson Mandela confirmed that
“The nationalisation of the mines, banks and monopoly industries is the policy of the ANC, and the change or modification of our views in this regard is inconceivable. Black economic empowerment is a goal we fully support and encourage, but in our situation state control of certain sectors of the economy is unavoidable.”*
This was before Mont Fleur and was certainly not the policy that the 4M’s (Mandela, Mbeki, Manuel and Mboweni) implemented. Their policy is best summed up in the cartoon below from Zapiro.