The internationalisation of production, government policy and industrial development in South Africa.
This dissertation examines the internationalisation of production and its implications for
the role of government in South Africa's industrial development. The research has two
specific areas of focus. The first is a case study of government policy formulation and
implementation in the instance of competition policy. The second is a study of firms in
the plastics sector.
Through an analysis of secondary data on the performance of manufacturing sub-sectors
it is demonstrated that the expectations of the policy of trade liberalisation have not
been realised in South Africa, nor are the outcomes consistent with the orthodox trade
theory underpinning the policy framework. Understanding government policy
formulation and its influence on economic outcomes requires a deeper analysis of the
nature and extent of the internationalisation of production.
Close examination of the formulation and implementation of competition policy reveals
the influence of large established business in setting the terms of the debate and the way
in which internationalisation affects the relative strengths of interests. The study
utilised case-study interviews and participatory observation to collect information on
the formal and informal policy processes, the negotiation of the policy agenda, decisionmaking
within this agenda, and establishment and operation of the institutions
responsible for implementation of the new legislation.
A survey of plastics firms complemented by in-depth interviews of selected firms
enabled an analysis of the importance of the internationalisation of production for the
sector. This revealed the importance of relationships beyond those involving either
trade or ownership. The survey focused in particular on the factors underlying
production changes, and the relationship between domestic competition and
The combination of methodologies and research areas allowed the central research
question to be approached from different sides, integrating understandings of firm
behaviour and government policy in an approach embodying a dynamic interpretation