Frustrated global governance reform, subimperial geopolitical-economy and BRICS banking A view from South Africa After 1994, a new era of post-apartheid foreign policy was to have begun, but a great many residual habits continued, including Pretoria's self-interested geopolitical activity elsewhere in Africa (mainly on behalf of Johannesburg capital, including banks) and its subservience to larger powers intent on the exploitation of the African continent via a South African ‘gateway'. In the wake of a global financial meltdown which shrunk the formal South African proletariat by nearly a tenth, the ‘subimperial' stance was strengthened at the same time rhetoric was uttered about a new ‘seat at the world table' by major emerging market powers, especially the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc. The idea of establishing both a $50 billion BRICS Bank and a $100 billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement was articulated and endorsed at the March 2012 Delhi and 2013 Durban summits of BRICS leaders, as well as at September 2013 G20 meeting in St Petersburg. At the latter, BRICS finance ministers expressed dissatisfaction about the International Monetary Fund's governance, notwithstanding having collectively spent $75 billion in the IMF's recapitalization the year before. In addition, as South Africa faced increasingly serious international financial vulnerabilities in 2013, the Durban BRICS summit witnessed substantial Chinese bilateral lending for South African extractive-oriented infrastructure, at a time the local Development Bank of Southern Africa precedent came under profound criticism and required a major state bailout. With flaws in the global financial architecture extremely apparent, the BRICS seem to need a bank to assure expedited extraction of Africa's minerals, petroleum, gas and cash crops, raising further questions about how different their pro-corporate economic growth model is from the West's, and whether their role in world capitalism is limited to assimilation, not alternative development finance.