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Reviewed by:
  • South Africa and the Logic of Regional Cooperation
  • Anthony Lemon
Hentz, James J. 2005. South Africa and the Logic of Regional Cooperation. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press. 276 pp. $65.00 (cloth); $24.95 (paper).

This volume does not concern itself with adding to the literature on the nature and problems of regional integration in southern Africa, but has a more focused aim: it seeks to examine debates within South Africa over the future of regional economic cooperation during what Hentz defines as "transitional South Africa," the period between the unbanning of the African National Congress in 1990 and the second post-apartheid election in 1999. He is not concerned with bargaining between southern African states, nor the successes and failures of post-apartheid regional integration; but rather, he asks how and why power brokers in transitional South Africa decided which form of regional cooperation to pursue. He is interested not so much in why, but how states cooperate: how is cooperation institutionalized? And why do particular arrangements evolve?

The book presents a detailed piece of contemporary history, supported by extensive use of secondary literature, contemporary reports, documents, and speeches. Its referencing of sources is meticulous, producing some 44 pages of endnotes. Hentz seeks to structure his argument around Andrew Moravcsik's variants of liberal theory: ideational, commercial, and republican. Thus, chapter 4 focuses on the influence of ideology, chapters 5 and 6 on the commercial or material bases of group or sectoral preferences (industry [End Page 116] and trade, banking and finance) for particular forms of regional cooperation, and chapter 8 on how different elements of society push for their preferred policies and how their preferences are filtered through state institutions to produce policy outcomes (Moravcsik's "republican" explanation, but presumably applicable to any state, regardless of its constitution). But in practice, these strands of theory form only a leitmotif in the book: perhaps they bulked larger in an original dissertation.

Chapter 2 sets the stage with a historical sketch of South Africa's regional relations. Given space constraints, this is well done, though with some curious omissions, such as the banning of the ANC, South Africa's becoming a republic, and President de Klerk's momentous speech in February 1990. Specific quibbles include vague reference to "the Environment Act" (the Physical Planning and Utilization of Resources Act of 1967?); the claim that the 1976 Soweto protests were catalyzed by official insistence that Afrikaans be "the official language in Black schools," whereas the new policy actually sought to impose teaching of half the subjects in Afrikaans (the rest in English) in black township schools, leaving "homeland" administrations to decide policy for themselves; and characterization of the Urban Foundation purely as a pressure group, whereas, through its funding of urban projects, it sought to improve conditions in the townships, or, as some argued at the time, to "make oppression comfortable."

Hentz' analysis in the rest of the book is based on three alternative models of cooperation or integration: developmental, market, and "ad hoc," the last comprising bilateral cooperation through trade or infrastructure projects, such as the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Though each is explored in some detail, the critical differences between developmental and market cooperation do not emerge with clarity: essentially, the latter focuses on trade and monetary issues, rather than regional development.

Chapter 3 outlines the regional foreign policy preferences of various groups in transitional South Africa, focusing on the ANC, labor, and small businesses, which all preferred developmental cooperation; the bureaucracy (market cooperation); and parastatals and conglomerates (ad hoc cooperation). Chapter 4 provides an excellent analysis of competing ideological perspectives and the way these foreshadowed policy debates over manufacturing, trade, and macroeconomics captured in the National Party's Normative Economic Model, the Macroeconomic Research Group report, the Reconstruction and Development Programme, and the perspectives of international financial institutions (IFIs), including the differing emphases of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The following chapter examines the conflicting interests of capital intensive ("status quo") and labor-intensive industries, the latter seeking a more developmental approach to regional integration. South African banks (chapter 6) were closer to the conglomerate sector, which supported ad hoc cooperation, but resisted...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1978
Print ISSN
0001-9887
Pages
pp. 116-118
Launched on MUSE
2007-06-21
Open Access
No
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