Capital Accumulation, Influx Control, and the State in South Africa, 1970-1982

This article traces the labour requirements of different fractions of capital in South Africa – manufacturing, agricultural, and mining – their struggle for political power to ensure these needs being satisfactorily met through State action, and the transformations in influx control policy during the period 1970 to 1982. It argues that the policy and application of influx control is at any given time an effect of the ability of a particular capitalist class fraction to enforce the primacy of its interests through the State, but that between 1970 and 1982 the interpenetration of different forms of capital and the emergence of a monopoly capitalist fraction blurred the old distinctions between ‘agricultural capital’, ‘mining capital’, and ‘manufacturing capital’. The article further demonstrates that during the early 1980s, influx control policy emerged as a continuing means of securing the labour needs of all fractions of capital. Finally it examines the ‘cheap forced labour’ hypothesis, and the role of influx control in labour dislocation. Ref.

Title: Capital Accumulation, Influx Control, and the State in South Africa, 1970-1982
Author: Houston, Gregory F.
Year: 1988
Periodical: Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Volume: 7
Issue: 1-2
Period: April-October
Pages: 111-131
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
Abstract: This article traces the labour requirements of different fractions of capital in South Africa – manufacturing, agricultural, and mining – their struggle for political power to ensure these needs being satisfactorily met through State action, and the transformations in influx control policy during the period 1970 to 1982. It argues that the policy and application of influx control is at any given time an effect of the ability of a particular capitalist class fraction to enforce the primacy of its interests through the State, but that between 1970 and 1982 the interpenetration of different forms of capital and the emergence of a monopoly capitalist fraction blurred the old distinctions between ‘agricultural capital’, ‘mining capital’, and ‘manufacturing capital’. The article further demonstrates that during the early 1980s, influx control policy emerged as a continuing means of securing the labour needs of all fractions of capital. Finally it examines the ‘cheap forced labour’ hypothesis, and the role of influx control in labour dislocation. Ref.