Limpopo: Political Dynamics, Contemporary Economics, Perceived Potential Radicalism and Provincial Asymmetry

Keywords: asymmetry, political economy, Limpopo, South African provinces, per capita income, provincial spending.


Of South Africa’s nine provinces, Limpopo Province – in relation to the redistributive economic demands as reported by the media since 2011 – seems to harbour the most radicalising political elements. Verbalized by Julius Malema, among others, calls for the nationalisation of all South African mines and continual demands for radical redistribution of land spread through the country. In this context, the article investigates whether Limpopo Province, with its largely rural population, is on the verge of a swing towards the populist left and whether an imminent political change is likely. The role that the ruling government’s failure (despite lip-service to transformation) to implement redistributive policies in Limpopo played in the forming of a political climate that may induce a swing to the left, is also considered. By utilising applicable economic data from various sources and incorporating the notion of perceived provincial asymmetry, the investigation centres on these circumstances during the period of 2011 to 2016, while logically sound reflections on the province’s future complement the study.

Author Biographies

Francois De Wet, Stellenbosch University Faculty of Military Science
Department of Economics
Ian Liebenberg, Stellenbosch University Faculty of Military Science
Centre for Military Studies (CEMIS)