An overview of Industrial Policy and its Implications for HRD

by ALTMAN, M., MAYER. M., , 2003
HRD Review 2003, Education, Employment and Skills in South Africa; Human Sciences Research Council Press. Chapter 3, pp 64-85

Altman and Mayer analyse the impact of South Africa’s industrial policy on the demand for labour. They show that industrial development has historically been driven by minerals extraction and import substitution, overlain by apartheid policies that excluded the majority of the population from the economy. This entrenched a growth path characterised by capital-intensive production processes, a paucity of skilled labour, and exceptionally high levels of unemployment The post-1994 period has seen a radical shift from the protectionist policies of the past. Trade liberalisation and supply-side policies have improved the competitiveness of manufactured exports. However, high levels of unemployment persist among unskilled and semi-skilled workers, as do high levels of inequality. The chapter concludes that human resource development policies should adopt a two-pronged approach: a short- to medium-term emphasis on developing unskilled labour for jobs in the non-tradable sector, and a long-term objective of enlarging the pool of skilled labour in line with the pattern of demand emerging in the manufacturing sector