South African Political Economy

Written by Justin

On Sep 26, 2019

South Africa is one unique country with diverse culture and traditions that offers different mindset towards its development. Since 1994 when the country attained freedom, there has been high and lows that have seen emergence of smaller political organisations taking members from majority political parties and that has seen dimension on how things are done in the country. Country parliament was quite and hardly engaged with public or civilians never took interest in what is happening but that has recently changed.

South Africa economy is currently struggling to grow and achieve targeted percentages and that is due to high population, lack of skills, lack of job opportunity and poor business development acumen. Corruption has impacted in the governance in corporates which would have serious implication to economic growth. The current South African Political Economy can be assessed as follows:

Leadership

The current president of the country is one Businessman turn politician and strategist, Cyril Ramaphosa who came in and promised a New dawn and invited civilians to be active citizens. This has promoted Thuma Mina Campaigns which speaks about people participating in programmes that will enhance human lives and influence economy, an initiative influenced by the song from the late Hugh Masekela.

To achieve possible 3% growth in economy, the ANC will have to work hard to restore confidence from the public. A lot of intuitions that would serve to create, develop, sustain jobs have collapsed due to lack of governance and corruption. With state capture in the centre of controversy everyone would question where was the same leadership when all these happened.

Polices

Governance

‘Governance in the country is proving to be poor and the government institutions are suffering from political meddling leading to lawlessness and corruption. Without clear role playing within government spheres there is no synergy. ANC has lost metros to DA and they differ with policies in governance and that has created a gap between provincial commitment and the municipal commitments hindering synergy. Mayors are playing bigger governance roles than Municipal Administrators and the confidence from economic outlook has always realise that political meddling overlook governance

Land Reform

The uncertainty around the land issues is increasingly creating bigger challenges for the country investment. Recently South Africa received investment from China and Saudi Arabia but the uncertainty around land expropriation has led to uneasiness and since this is driven by ANC and EFF with DA and Cope refusing the approach it remains a challenge to convince investors to agree to play in a space they are not sure about. Small business and entrepreneurship during this fourth industrial revolution has been identified as the potential job creator however lack of certainty in land issues and access to infrastructure has always been a problem

Social Disparities

It has been difficult for socio economic inclusions due to lack of integration towards economy. South Africa has many populations relying on social grants and the continuation on the grants has led to lack of affordability. The increase of Vat to 15% has not helped much in terms of affordability. Politicians claim to be fighting to improve human development however the challenge of the distance between those whom they lead and the voice they hear.

Employment Vs Employability

Education has been blamed for employability of the South African youth. Most graduates are not employed because they are not employment ready. The market requires skills and the Institution of higher learning are giving qualifications. The political stardom on free education saw the former president prematurely announcing the free education in desperate move to own the initiative and that the ANC also did not help itself by committing to what has let to current chaos. Most of the institutions are led by youth organisation and students’ representatives led by EFF leading the institutions and their policies are not aligned with the vision of the ruling party impacting on the synergy towards careers.

Energy and Unions

Energy plays a big role in sustaining economy. A lot of municipalities currently owes Eskom and the organisation itself is such a mess. The challenges facing Eskom is part of the challenges facing State Owned Entities suffering from governance and the unions has not made it easy with their constant pressure on their salaries and benefits. This has cast a cloud on how the turnaround should be structured.

Alternative energy in green energy has also been received with emotions without clear political commitment from the ruling party whilst other political parties are concerned with role players. The lack of proper energy alternative and supply consistency and sustainability cast doubts on new development and investments.

Infrastructure

Services have been poor in rural areas and most of the infrastructure is dilapidated and that has put pressure on the implementation of service to the poor. Whilst the poor has been promised services such as water and electricity, most basic services remains canvassing tools for politicians and has affected the actual implementation. The unfortunate part from the local layperson would remain the tools and resources for emancipation of economic stardom for individuals.

Foreign Policies

Policies on foreigners has bent towards humanitarian and has ignored the sustainability. There has been cases of illegal facilities producing fake goods however the political will to eradicate such challenges has been since been quite and this is because of the history of xenophobia in the country. Recent elections in Zimbabwe has demonstrated that over 4 million Zimbabweans in the country are comfortable here and they did not even bother to go home to vote.

The challenges facing the country drug world which is led by those who are supporting some political parties financially has left much to be desired in the decision-making process and political support towards economic growth. The Guptas state capture has demonstrate lack of political powers in harnessing economy when they led foreigners run the country down and they move away. The cost of the commissions demonstrates lack of steel in dealing with foreigners.

Rating Agencies

The rating agencies has put South Africa in a mode which makes it hard to attract investment and borrow citing political meddling in institutions and metros including strategic agencies. Lack of governance and stability within institutions has casted doubts for turning around strategies. There is work to be done if the country is to be stable. The agencies will not give up and tey will need political assurance that there is stability if South Africa is to attract trillion investments needed to improve the country situation

Conclusion

The current political landscape in South Africa is confused and requires political heads that are cool and guided by economic understanding. The reckless vision to nationalise reserve bank has demonstrated desperation to control government resources by political parties. The land issues add pressure to all political parties and risk economic development.

South Africa remain one attractive country in African continent with clear constitution and policies that can drive economy with ease. The freedom in the country has given hope to many however the lack of political requirements in terms of positions has led to parliament invaded by unqualified people whose role remains to receive salaries. Without clear political structure that is aligned to economic vision is just a challenge that remain with the dark side of South Africa.

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