Graduate School
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch

Dr Elias Phaahla

Home country: South Africa

Year of enrolment: 2010

Graduation date: March 2015

Department:  Political Science

Supervisor: Prof Janis van der Westhuizen

Dissertation title: Development with Social Justice? Social Democracy in Mauritius

​Abstract: Since the advent of independence in 1968, Mauritius' economic trajectory evolved from the one of a monocrop sugar economy, with the latter noticeably being the backbone of the country's economy, to one that progressed into being the custodian of a dynamic and sophisticated garment-dominated manufacturing industry. Condemned with the misfortune of not being endowed with natural resources, relative to her mainland African counterparts, Mauritius, nonetheless, was able to break the shackles of limited economic options and one of being the 'basket-case' to gradually evolving into being the upper-middle-income country - thus depicting it to be one of the most encouraging economies within the developing world. Indeed it is captivating that the fruits of the island's prosperous sugar industry went a long way in meeting the island's diversification agenda. Moreover, the 'Mauritian miracle' is glorified by the emergence and sustenance of a comprehensive welfare state which was able to withstand the harshest economic challenges the country ever faced. This thesis seeks to provide a broad historical over-view of the factors which aided the construction of the social democratic regime in Mauritius. It is of the premise that the social consciousness of the post-colonial leadership in Mauritius laid the foundation for the entrenchment of ideals of social justice into the Mauritian polity. Instead of letting market forces operate in their pure form, the state was propelled instead, to take the driver's seat into the running of the economy so as to ensure the market and labour become partners in a bid to help the state meet its social development ideals. It is no wonder that current day welfare state in Mauritius is the one which is inextricably linked to elections, not just as tool to duck socio-ethnic disharmony.

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