McGowan(1998;179) quotes Margenthau 1948 as he cites that SA’s regional diplomacy seeks national interests rather than regional security, tight border controls and the aggressive promotion of exports and investment for economic growth and job creation in South Africa it’s relationship would be one of a self hegemon. The SACU and BLNs states have been frequently undermined by SA economic activities as they display their power and strength to sign treaties that affect trading activities. According McGowan (1998;183) SA behaviour since 1994 renegotiated bilateral agreements with other Southern African countries that invariably undermine the integrity of SACU’s customs union. The failure by SA to rectify the Free Trade Protocol was an act to undermine SADC. In conclusion South Africa has shown strong elements of being a hegemon than a partner in SADC region with furthering of domestic issues rather than regional.
South African’s Zimbabwe Policy; Unravelling the Contradictions
Mbeki’s presidency emerged a new era diplomatic relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Freeman article demonstrates the contradictions posed by South Africa’s great power status in Africa and its economic strength. According to Freeman (2005;148) the Mbeki administration’s support to Mugabe regime after the controversial land reform and fraudulent elections in 2000 seemed to contradict the essence of the African Renaissance which Mbeki had promised to speared in Africa and also put the question Western support for NEPAD.
Freeman (2005;150) propounds that the support of the Mugabe regime was in the bid to mend the tense and irritated relationship which had developed between South Africa and Zimbabwe in the initial post colonial apartheid phase and Mbeki himself believed in anticolonialism and that Britain never leaved to its promises for funding land distribution in Zimbabwe. The issue of human rights and democracy to denounce ZANUPF government was illogic to Mbeki and other SADC heads of government according to Freeman (2005;151) for Mbeki it was a cover up to seeking regime change and a way for violating Zimbabwe sovereignty. African Renaissance and NEPAD advocated for good governance and democracy was very opposite with the foreign policy implemented by Mbeki. Freeman (2005;155) the anti-imperialist and anti western agenda by ZANUPF questioned the very existence of the implementation of NEPAD and African Renaissance. Freeman (2005;158) emphasis that the reason Mbeki support for the Mugabe government was in the politics of identity that emerged in the liberation struggle and the emergence of MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) was labelled a western agent there derail the gains of the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe land reform programme according to Freeman (2005;162) provided a “wake up” call for South Africa serves as a rallying point to mass discontent and radical mass political in South Africa provides a key domestic vector shaping official policy. The major criticism of the Mbeki government faced was within the Triple Alliance the open support of MDC and ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) by COSATU and SAPC according to Freeman (2005;164) emergency of opposition parties such as the MDC by ANC and other regional leaders was viewed a threat and challenge the existence of liberation parties in Africa and that a credible alternative might emerge within South Africa. Freeman (2005;166) elaborates that Mugabe made a clear mockery to the NEPAD and African Renaissance elements of good governance and peer review put forward in these strategies highlighted the reversion to the sort of politics the concepts condemned. In conclusion the article demonstrates the failure of South Africa in political field but much vocal in the economic sphere. Hegemonic display of South Africa in Zimbabwe situation showed SA’s government authority weak and in ironic and perverse turnaround, Mugabe has so far ended to set the agenda.
SADC; A Development Community without a development Policy
The principal existence of SADC is for implementing economic co-operation, security, regional integration as well as developmental strategies to member nations. This article by Arrigo Pallotti postulates the failure of SADC to fuel its mandatory objective of speeding trade liberalisation as the primary aim of interstate economic co-operation and examines the political ambiguities surrounding the creation of SADC.As Pallotti (2004;515) elaborates the transformation of SADCC to SADC in 1992 after the Treaty of Windhoek the led to the advocacy of a neutral neo-liberal strategy of region integration which implemented trade liberalisation as the main instrument of economic development in Southern Africa.
The SADC advocacy for regional trade liberalisation and economic integration of Southern African countries has been hampered by globalisation and the degree of polarisation that exist between regional nations. According to Pallotti (2004;514) SADC approach of increasing regional integration ignores the notion of inter-state and intra state power relations and putting in place alternative developmental strategies for the developing counties in the region. SADC promoted intra-state relations in the bid to encourage regional integration according to Pallito (2004;514) the governments with the fear of economic marginalisation in the global economy led them to adopt ambitious but vogue integration policies. The initiative move by SADC to implement the SADC Trade Protocol in 1996 Pallotti (2004;516) elaborates it resulted in gradual removal trade barriers among member states in Southern Africa derived from the Trade Development and Co-operation Agreement concluded by the EU and South Africa.
In conclusion the Pallitto article demonstrates the SADC’s economic development strategies’ failure in furthering economic interests to the rest of Southern Africa as well as continued polarisation of economic development with the SADC member nations.
Ahwireg-Obeng F and McGowan P 1998 Partner of Hegemon? South Africa in Africa; Journal of Contemporary African Studies South Africa
Freeman L.2005 South Africa’s Zimbabwe Policy; Unravelling the Contradictions; Journal of Contemporary African Studies South Africa
Pallotti A: 2004 SADC: A Development Community without a Development Policy Review of African Political Economy No 101:513-531 ROAPE Publications ltd, 2004