PhD / Doctoral

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    Open Access
    Automotive policy and the restructuring of the south african industry, 1990 - 2005.
    (2007) Black, Anthony; Kaplan, David
    Since 1990 the South African automotive industry has been through the most dramatic phase of its long history as reduced protection has led to much greater international integration. This thesis analyses the restructuring of the sector in response to these developments. The first major section provides a detailed assessment of the international environment and its impact on the prospects for growth of the automotive industry in developing countries and South Africa in particular. In many developing countries, the sector has been subject to extensive state support and intervention. While traditional production locations in advanced countries remain dominant, there has been a significant shift of production to developing countries. This expansion has, however, been focused on a relatively small number of locations. For countries which do not have very large existing or potential domestic markets, policy needs to define an 'automotive space' and provide some protection to anchor the domestic industry if local capacity is to be retained and developed. In South Africa, a gradual but sustained period of tariff liberalisation has been coupled with import-export complementation measures aimed at increasing exports and achieving a higher degree of specialisation. With its unfavourable geographical location and history of heavy protection, the prognosis for the South African industry in the early 1990s was not good. To date the costs of liberalisation have been quite low. The export response to the realignment of the incentive structure has been strong and the industry has become much more efficient and competitive. However, other objectives have not been achieved. Recently, the share of vehicle imports has grown sharply. Local content levels remain low partly because of lower protection. There have also been serious distortions. The system of export credits used to offset import duties has led to rapid expansion of 'peripheral' component exports, driven more by the objective of rebating import duties than any real economic justification. Investment levels have been modest compared to the investments flowing into some of the world's more dynamic emerging automotive industries. Historically, the development of small-scale, multi-model plants has been the central structural problem in the South African automotive industry. It exacerbated the lack of competitiveness associated with high levels of protection and limited the prospects for expanding local content. One of the key objectives of policy has been to encourage industry rationalisation. But while a theoretical case for industrial policies can easily be made, implementation is much more complex. There has been progress in achieving higher model volumes, but it has not been sufficient to justify investments in high levels of local content. A number of case studies of firm level restructuring were conducted. These illustrate that the major reason for the lack of competitiveness in the initial stages was not necessarily inefficiency or a lack of dynamism on the part of firms but rather an inefficient industry structure consisting of too many low volume producers. Component firms have in fact proved quite dynamic in adapting to this environment. Restructuring has taken a number of forms and firms have proved remarkably resourceful. But internal or plant level changes, while necessary have seldom proved sufficient. In many cases firms have been forced to seek out a foreign partner. Foreign ownership or control in turn has had a number of effects on firm performance and prospects in areas such as exports, R&D and the use of domestic suppliers. The industry has made substantial progress towards developing a more efficient and competitive structure. But difficulties remain as it attempts to attract investment in an increasingly competitive international environment. The scale of domestic production is still not sufficient to encourage high levels of localisation of components. That in turn means that assembly sector costs remain high because of the logistics costs associated with high import levels. The challenge for policy currently is to encourage investment in high volume, sustainable automotive production while at the same time gradually moving to more neutral and lower levels of support.
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    Open Access
    Post-school education in an unequal society
    (2023) Whitelaw, Emma; Branson, Nicola; Leibbrandt Murray
    In South Africa, a country afflicted by conditions of poverty, inequality, and unemployment, a post-school education can be key to fostering upward mobility. However, many of the country's socioeconomic inequalities are replicated within the post-school education system itself. This means that, inter alia, inequalities in student access and success plague the sector despite strides made by the government to redress the educational and economic discrimination of the apartheid regime. In the substantive chapters of this dissertation, I explore inequalities in access, academic achievement, and graduate realities; considering each as an obstacle to equitable participation and success in post-school education, and thereafter. The first substantive chapter concerns access for the 'missing middle'; a group who do not qualify for financial aid but for whom university education is unaffordable. I operationalise the concepts of mobility, vulnerability, and economic stability to differentiate the socioeconomic circumstances of households in South Africa, and locate them within the context of the current post-school funding policy. Results contribute information to an important current policy priority; the development of a sustainable, comprehensive, and progressive financial aid scheme. The second substantive contribution concerns achievement, particularly as it relates to changes in university students' academic performance in 2020 and 2021. Achievement gaps between students funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS] and those not funded by NSFAS existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the extent to which these were exacerbated by institution closures speaks to issues of participation and success. In my third contribution, I analyse the extent to which financially supporting family and extended family networks is associated with the completion of post-school education. If graduates' realities differ once post-schooling is completed, this can hamper the extent to which post-school education can promote individual upward mobility. A connecting contribution of these chapters is to provide empirical evidence, through rigorous economic analysis, that builds an understanding of inequalities in access, achievement, and graduate realities. This evidence can be inserted into dialogues that shape policies, which ultimately have the potential to disrupt socioeconomic inequalities. Although concerning different stages of post-schooling, all chapters contribute to quantifying features of post-school education that have not previously been explored in-depth
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    Open Access
    The role of the law in the institutionalization of industrial conflict with specific reference to the use of the lock-out in South Africa
    (1993) De Witt, Charl Cilliers; Davis, Dennis
    Difference of opinion exists as to whether the law has a role to play in the institutionalization of industrial conflict. It is argued in this thesis that it does. Firstly, the thesis deals with the development of an institutionalization model allowing for an effective and legitimate role for the law, particularly with regard to the regulation of managerial industrial power in the overall institutionalization design. It is argued that the law has a procedural role to play in the regulation of the quantum of industrial power, the nature of disputes which should be settled by the use of power and the position of power as a last resort in the overall institutionalization design. Secondly, the thesis addresses the use of managerial power in the South African industrial relations system against the background of the above model. It starts off with an evaluation of contract as a means to regulate employment and it is concluded that contract fails to address the power discrepancies between capital and labour on both an economic and hierarchical level and it further fails to provide security of employment. The unfair labour practice concept designed to redress the inadequacies of contract was fairly successful in the area of security of employment, but failed in the area of collective bargaining. The legislature should codify the law with regard to security of employment and restrict the ambit of the unfair labour practice to collective bargaining. The latter should be regulated in terms of clear, procedural, legislative provisions. After an analysis of the institutionalization design of the South African system the regulation of the lock-out itself is evaluated with regard to the size of managerial power, the kind of disputes it is designed to settl·e and the position of the lock-out vis-a-vis other settlement mechanisms in the overall institutionalization design. Finally, suggestions with regard to the definition of certain key concepts are made.
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    Open Access
    Variability and trends in rainy season characteristics of the Eastern Cape
    (2023) Mahlalela, Precious; Reason, Christopher; Blamey, Ross
    Forming part of south-eastern South Africa, the Eastern Cape province has been prone to extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. The region also displays considerable interannual rainfall variability with a tendency towards prolonged dry periods in recent decades. There is generally a poor understanding of the factors contributing to this rainfall variability. This is concerning considering the recent prolonged (2015 - 2020) drought, that has had major socio-economic effects particularly on the large impoverished rural population as well as on some urban areas where supplied water services have broken down in several cases. Even with some rainfall relief in the province during 2022, water shortages persist, particularly in the largest metropolitan area of Nelson Mandela Bay. The region is influenced by both midlatitude and tropical systems leading to a complex regional meteorology that hitherto has not been much studied compared to other parts of South Africa. Here, variability and trends in rainfall characteristics for the Eastern Cape are examined. Focus is placed on the spring (September-November) and summer (December- February) as these seasons contribute the largest proportion to annual totals. The spring season contributes between about 25-35% of the annual rainfall total, while the summer season contributes about 40-45%. Due to limited available station data, the Climate Hazards Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) data set is used. Comparisons with the available station data, provides confidence in the CHIRPS-derived results. On interannual time scales, the results indicate that dry (wet) springs over the Eastern Cape are associated with a cyclonic (anticyclonic) anomaly southeast of South Africa as part of a shift in the zonal wavenumber 3 pattern in the midlatitudes. Over the landmass, a stronger (weaker) Botswana High is also apparent with increased (decreased) subsidence over and near the Eastern Cape which is less (more) favourable for cloud band development and hence reduced (enhanced) rainfall during dry (wet) springs. The summer season shows significant El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Southern Annular Mode (SAM) influences as well as from the Botswana High. Composites show that dry (wet) summers tend to be associated with a negative (positive) SAM pattern superimposed with a wave number 4 anomaly. According to CHIRPS data, the spring season has shown a significant decreasing trend in total rainfall as well as the number of light, moderate, and heavy rainfall days over most of the province since 1981. The summer signal is less consistent, with a significant increase in rainfall in some inland areas but a decrease in rainfall near the coast which is not found to be statistically significant. The observed summer trends are attributed to an increase in light and moderate rainfall days inland and a decrease in heavy rainfall days near the coast. An examination of the regional rainfall features suggests that the observed decrease in spring rainfall may be related to an observed decrease in the number of cloud bands during the spring while, the observed increase in rainfall inland during the summer might be associated with increased ridging along the south coast. Analysis of mid-century (2040-2060) CMIP5 rainfall projections suggests that there may be a flattening of the annual cycle over the Eastern Cape with the winter becoming wetter and parts of the summer drier. There is a large spread in CMIP5 model projections over the region with the multi-model mean projecting a very slight drying in both seasons. It is suggested that existing climate models may find representing the Eastern Cape region particularly challenging given its sharp gradients in land surface and ocean conditions and its complex meteorology
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    Open Access
    The English periodical literature of the Cape Colony from its beginning (1824) to 1835
    (1961) Robinson, A M Lewin
    A Study of its origin, Development and Character, with special reference to Editors, Publishers and Contributors and its Reflection of the life of the Times