South Africa faces a series of grim challenges that will hopefully prompt the country’s leadership to hit the reset button, if they want to save the nation from fiscal ruin and avoid irretrievable long-term decline. Taking several steps back to reassess unprofitable or damaging approaches and adopt alternative solutions could place the country in survival mode instead of veering head-on into a recession.
Imminent trials include electricity and water shortages, rising interest rates, civil protests and the impact of China’s economic downturn on South Africa’s raw material exports. In addition, the weakening Rand means imported goods will inflate the cost of consumer goods within the domestic arena. Economists predict that the spinoff will inevitably result in sharp incidences of failed businesses causing increased unemployment and poverty, high consumer debt, limited
household spending, intensified crime, greater social unrest and political instability. Implementing strategies to reverse the dire impact of these already entrenched social dilemmas on society at large is complex.
The way forward requires a unique approach to alert both the country’s leaders and citizens alike to bring about drastic measures to save the country from imminent junk status. A constructive resolution is for government to strengthen its public image as a citizen-friendly entity by re-prioritizing its national spending, focusing on nation building, and forging a way forward by restoring and improving the country’s declining infrastructure.
Our political leadership must also re-think restrictions that curtail tourism, and restrain student demonstrations demanding free education. Had South Africa been on par with countries like Belgium, Germany, Finland and Sweden in terms of its tax wedge, absolving tuition fees might have been a justifiable prospect, although the European countries mentioned have a lower percentage of students that go on to college than we have here in South Africa.
Nation-building programs encompass a positive learning curve within governmental hierarchies, development of civil society through education, and putting dispute resolution mechanisms in place, as well as providing economic assistance to well-thought-out projects in order to safeguard stability and advancement in technology and economic processes to grow sectors within agriculture, manufacture, tourism, communication, and entrepreneurship. Human suffering across the board and the erosion of South Africa’s national standard is cause for concern. There is no real escape other than attempting to stem the tide of South Africa becoming the biggest welfare state in the world, which is a deterrent to ever achieving the high standards demanded of a developed country.