NO TIME FOR CHEERLEADING TOWARDS DISASTER
Observing South African political and economic developments has long been akin to watching a car crash in very slow motion.
The vehicle may have swerved at the last moment to avoid a large boulder in late 2017, with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC President, but it then aimed itself directly towards the cliff that is expropriation without compensation. The Zupta-ites kept one hand in the wheel, through ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, and the SACP took hold with another, with the Economic Freedom Fighters cheering on from the back seats.
The economy remained stalled. Government continued to miss one fiscal target after another. We edged ever closer to junk status. Despite all this the ANC held onto its electoral majority, with its rogue youth wing (in the form of the EFF) the only party eating away at its support.
The Covid-19 epidemic has acted as a massive accelerant. In the face of this looming threat the ANC government decided to introduce (and later effectively extend) one of the most onerous lockdowns in the world, and we were relegated to junk status by Moody’s soon thereafter.
Now, the economy is rapidly contracting, tax revenue collapsing, unemployment increasing and hunger is once again on the march across the land.
And after all this ‘national sacrifice’, cases of local transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue – regardless - on their upward trajectory as the winter sets in.
Thanks to the lockdown we are already in the midst of an economic crisis, a fiscal crisis is coming, the health crisis is still on its way (both from of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 causes), and some kind of political crisis is likely to follow. Yet the ruling ANC elite have so cocooned themselves off from reality, ideologically and materially, that these developments seem only to reach them as a distant echo from a far-off land.
Critical analysis and opinion, of the kind that Politicsweb uniquely provides, will be needed more than ever over the coming months. A strong, independent press will be critical towards deciding the final course the country ends up taking. This is not the time, in other words, for the usual cheerleading towards disaster.
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