This paper continues the development state theme in historical context, but with a greater focus on very recent developments. The developmental state as a strategic objective is largely taken as a given with policy discussion reduced to how the current state form could be reformed to achieve the outcomes posited for a developmental state. This paper argues that this is an a-historical approach that fails to engage with the history of ideas and the policy frameworks which emerged within the liberation movement to inform the type and nature of the democratic state which could overcome the legacies of colonialism, segregation and apartheid. These ideas were articulated in the 1940s by the ANC in seminal policy documents such as 'Africans' Claims'. The argument is made, significant from the perspective of the mainstream VOC approach, that the business sector in the 1940s did not present an organised force in the debate on social policy reform. Organised business largely employed a laisser-faire approach to the health, education and welfare of urbanising Africans, contingently supporting government commissions established during the 'war years', where it served their interests. In the post-apartheid era the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) base document reflected this historical trajectory and gave further impetus to the idea of a social democratic welfare state. The advent of GEAR and ASGISA represented a shift in emphasis - giving greater primacy to economic growth as a condition for meeting social imperatives. Yet the role of business, both progressive and conservative, and its impact on social policy debates, in this period was more apparent than in the 1940s.