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2 Law Democracy & Dev. iii (1998)

handle is hein.journals/laacydev2 and id is 1 raw text is: Editorial
Law Democracy & Development (LDD) is privileged to publish in this issue a
selection of papers emanating from a study of co-determinist structures at
different levels of South African society, commissioned in mid-1 996 by the
National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI), a re-
search institute associated with the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU). Dr Glenn Adler, co-ordinator of that project, has kindly agreed
to assist in the production of this issue in the capacity of guest editor,
Co-determination goes to the root of the democracy-building project
as well as the developmental challenges facing South Africa. The term is
used here to describe a participative mode of decision-making involving
all parties (often with adversarial interests) to a process, rather than an
exercise of power by those at the top of organisational hierarchies. Neces-
sarily, it implies the empowerment, in terms of knowledge and skill, of
those who had previously been excluded from decision-making. Its devel-
opmental significance lies in broadening the pool of human resources, and
reinforcing the co-operative effort, that socio-economic progress ulti-
mately depends on.
Why is co-determination on the agenda? To the extent that it forms part
of the democratic transformation that South Africa has embarked on, it
needs no special explanation. But there are other, very empirical influ-
ences promoting it also, In much of the private sector, enterprises are
under growing pressure to become more flexible in their output. Global
markets challenge them to meet a more diverse, rapidly-changing de-
mand. Combined with these pressures has been the general imperative to
improve productivity by means of improved industrial relations. A grow-
ing tendency towards new, more inclusive forms of management has
been part of the response.
These influences are by no means confined to the private sector. Similar
pressures towards democratised decision-making have begun to make
themselves felt in the public sector. Most notably, the new South African
constitution is a monument to the potency of an integrative process to
achieve results that no single party could have imposed by force or per-
suasion. It provides a foundation for democratisation at all levels of soci-
ety. as explored in the previous issue of LDD (Volume 1 November 1997).
Throughout the new public service, the understanding is growing that
participative decision-making works better,
Trite though much of this may be, the focus of our law has only begun
to shift from the regulation of social power by means of traditional hierar-
chies to providing new, integrative mechanisms of decision-making more
in keeping with democratic values. This issue is about the emergence of
co-determinist decision-making in a number of key areas. Special atten-
tion is given to participatory institutions between employers, organised

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