After you have worked through this section of the learning unit, you should be able to:

  • describe and identify capital and the income that is derived from the ownership of capital

On the issue of white monopoly capital, Lucien van der Walt (2016) writes:

Existing alongside vast private companies – not all of which fit the label "white monopoly capital" is another massive economic force, the state apparatus – the biggest single employer, landowner, income earning institution, and by any reasonable measure, the dominant ‘monopoly capital’ in electricity, rail, roads, forestry, television, sectors of banking, higher education and elsewhere.

South Africa, I argue, is controlled by a single ruling class, divided into two sectors: a (largely white) private sector elite, and a (largely black) state elite. This is united at both a deep structural level, through common interests and interdependence, and at a more conjunctural level, by current neo-liberal programmes and alliances, among which note can be made of the Growth Employment and Redistribution (Gear) Strategy (1996) or the fact that almost every single cabinet minister is a shareholder in one or more companies. It is not held together by the corruption of a few people, or by incorrect programmes, not by poor state leadership, not even by the ANC, all of which can be changed.

The state can no more be wielded against private capitalists than one brick in a wall can fight another – and capitalism and the state can no more lose their character of exploitation and domination than a wall can become an aeroplane. Efforts to capture the state can, at most, lead to a few people, mainly party leaders, joining the ruling class – nothing more.

The strategic task must then become one of building a movement outside and against the private and state corporations and the state more generally, by the broad working class (including the unemployed), which is both victim and potential destroyer of the system.