Measuring economic transformation: Tracking the progress of an elusive South African dream

Botha, Jinine
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This research report comprises two parts: a theoretical introduction and a long-form journalism piece “Tracking the progress of an elusive South African dream.” The overall work seeks to understand one of the biggest challenges post-apartheid South Africa faces - achieving economic transformation, a process through which wealth of the country can be shared with all its people. The theoretical component explores the concept of economic transformation and describes various economic indicators, such as Gini coefficient and unemployment figures, in order to determine what these metrics are saying about economic transformation in South Africa. The long-form journalism piece incorporates all these different facets of economic transformation and economic indicators to examine how this important post-apartheid project is being monitored and in what ways. The long-form piece describes my journey of attempting to find answers to these two questions – what is economic transformation and how should it be measured? What the long form piece describes is that the concept of economic transformation still rests mainly on the governments’ policies around Black Economic Empowerment. Many experts however, believe that this in it self will not lead to the Utopian dream the constutution sets out to achieve. The paper also finds that measurements around the use of BEE and inequality, conflict with one another making it difficult to track the real progress of this transformation.