Is South Africa Falling Apart Under ANC Rule?

south africa falling apart
Is South Africa Falling Apart?

The 1994 elections in South Africa brought big changes to the country. The African National Congress (ANC) won the first all-race elections.

With the changes came a lot of uncertainties.

Everyone was wondering where the country would be heading under ANC rule. Was it going to flourish and grow, or was it going to become another failed African state?

The ruling ANC’s supporters were hopeful of a wonderful new life. Many other people were uncertain. But they hoped that things would be OK. Others feared that South Africa would start falling apart.

Now it is more than 20 years later. Who was right?

ANC Rule Since 1994

The ANC has ruled South Africa ever since the 1994 elections. They won four more general elections with large majorities since then.

These victories were not based on exceptional performance by the ANC. They were thanks to a large voter base who seems unwilling or unable to truly judge the ANC’s performance.

The ANC is so sure of continued victories that President Zuma declared that the ANC will rule South Africa forever.

How are things going under ANC rule?

The ANC is looking out for itself first, and not for the people of South Africa. President Zuma recently even admitted that the ANC comes first, not the country.

The ANC will tell you that things are going well. After all, many in the top echelons of the ANC have become wealthy. This seems to be their primary goal.

Many others disagree. They say that things are not going well at all.

In fact, there are some informed people who say that South Africa is failing.

8 Reasons Why South Africa Is Failing

Here are some of the developments that suggest South Africa is failing under ANC rule:

1. Crime is out of control

Crime is ongoing, and the police seem unable to deal with it. There have even been cases where they took part in it. Yes, some of the crime is as a result of the socio-economic situation for many people. But not all poor people are criminals. Many criminals have made crime a lifestyle. Others have turned crime into profitable businesses.

2. Leaders deflect responsibility and stir up hatred

Instead of taking responsibility for the ANC’s failures, President Zuma likes to blame whites for the country’s problems. Julius Malema, the leader of the EFF, also makes anti-white statements while claiming not to be a racist. He has been found guilty of hate-speech before.

3. National infrastructure is crumbling

Eskom, the national electricity company, is crumbling. This is due to poor maintenance and insufficient planning for new generators. Electrical blackouts, a.k.a. “load shedding,” have become common over the past year or two. Eskom warned that this will continue until at least 2017. Recent reports say that the water supply is starting to crumble as well.

4. Unemployment is increasing

Unemployment has been a problem in South Africa for a long time. It is worse now than at the end of apartheid 20 years ago. The current unemployment rate is more than 25%. Among youth aged 15-24, it is 50%.

5. Education system creates unemployables

The education system is in an appalling state. It has high failure rates despite low passing requirements. About 50% of kids who enter school in Grade 1, never make it to Grade 12. Combined with a high Grade 12 failure rate, it leaves a large percentage of youth that is unemployable. One commentator has even referred to South Africa’s youth as a “ticking time-bomb.” This situation is also likely to make the crime problem worse.

6. Corruption & fraud have become a way of life

Corruption is running wild in government. President Zuma’s Nkandla project is the poster-child for government officials using government funds for personal gain. The inner circle of the ruling ANC and their families are getting rich off government projects. This is like what happened in Zimbabwe with Mugabe and his inner circle. Many consider the ongoing corruption and fraud to be the biggest problem in South Africa.

7. Credit rating & currency is falling

Constant labor strikes and violent protests have cost the country. Credit ratings agencies have downgraded South Africa’s credit rating. This makes it more expensive for South Africa to borrow money. Another downgrade is looming. With the downgrades come the departure of foreign capital investments. Along with that came the drop in the value of the currency. The Rand currently trades at more than R14 per 1 US Dollar, an all-time low.

8. Economic growth continues to decline

South Africa’s economic growth has been slowing for several years. In 2013 the economy grew by 1.9% and in 2014 by 1.4%. This is partly due to many of the issues already mentioned, like labor strikes, power outages, and credit rating downgrades.

This list is not exhaustive. There are other problems as well.

What Prominent Commentators Say

In his book, How Long Will South Africa Survive?, R.W. Johnson opined that South Africa may have to approach the IMF for a bailout in as little as two years. Johnson feels that the ANC government is unlikely to change it ways. It will take a regime change to rescue the situation.

Magnus Heystek, a prominent investment strategist, says that South Africa is on the road to bankruptcy.

Can This Really Be Happening?

The above issues paint a dreadful picture. Are there positive things that could make a real difference? Are there things that negate the above issues? It would only be fair to consider those as well.

What do you think? Take the poll and share your opinion in the comments.

Is South Africa Slowly Becoming Another Failed State?

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  • Very interesting article Jack, listing the important issues/topics with verifiable proof is important in these ‘sensationalist’ times. Do you have access to any analysis on the international investment trend (other than Chinese)? I suspect it correlates to the credit rating.


    • Thanks for your comment, Diedmar. From what I can see, global foreign direct investment rose a little during the second half of 2013. Then it dropped a little during the first half of 2014. During the second half of 2014 it started to rise, and is still rising. Here’s a document about that:
      I’m sure that there are many factors affecting a country’s credit rating. In South Africa’s case, the ratings agencies keep mentioning ongoing labor strikes and the government’s inability to deal with it. The power outages have been mentioned too. They are costing the economy.

  • Jack,

    Those that still live in SA, fairly or unfairly, point out that it is the ex-SAns who live outside the country who are overly critical, as if to justify their decision to leave, when discussing the current state of affairs and/or prognosis for the future. Just an observation, not a criticism.

    Anyways, two aspects you did not touch on are:

    1) Are there any successes?

    2) If the ANC is doing so poorly, why do they continue to be successful at the polls? The DA appears to have been successful in the Western Cape, why has this not translated into more support in the rest of the country?

    I look forward to your replies to the above.

    • Hi Jonny. Thanks for your comment.

      You are right in that there are South Africans outside the country who are overly critical of the country. Some are very critical because of a bad personal experience that caused them to leave (e.g. victims of crime). In my opinion, others appear to be overly critical to South Africans in the country because so many of them have become used to the issues that cause criticism and now don’t view them as being so bad. Also, South Africans in the country experience the good aspects, which those outside the country don’t. Either way, it will always be a mixed bag of different opinions.

      About the ANC’s successes: I can’t imagine that the ANC had zero successes in the past 22 years. Speaking under correction, I believe that the Gautrain could be seen as one such success. The 2010 Soccer World Cup could be seen as another, although some issues emerged afterwards. The ANC’s problem is that the significance of their failures overshadow their successes so much. If you are aware of a major success, please mention it. It would only be fair. In terms of non-ANC successes, I believe that South Africa’s private industry is trying to make a difference.

      About the ANC’s continued re-election: The ANC is lucky in the sense that they can rely on an electorate with a large percentage of people that are either unwilling or unable to see the big picture failures. Some of them will vote for the ANC in exchange for a meal and a T-shirt. Others vote for the ANC because their tribal chiefs instruct them to do so. Others vote for the ANC because it is the “liberation party” that brought them freedom 22 years ago. (The ANC is very good at reminding their electorate of this fact at election time, while demonizing whites at the same time and suggesting that a vote against the ANC might result in Apartheid returning.) Others vote for the ANC because of intimidation. The tide is starting to turn though. More and more of the ANC’s electorate is starting to become disillusioned with their lack of delivery on promises. The problem is that some of the disillusioned become EFF supporters, which is another problem. While the DA has been successful in the Western Cape, their problem is that many blacks still see them as a white party. (And if they don’t, the ANC tells them so.) I believe that a big reason why the DA has been winning elections in the Western Cape is because of demographics. The vast majority of ANC voters are black. Only 33% of the Western Cape population is black. The situation is very different in the Eastern Cape, for example, where 86% of the population is black, or Gauteng (74% black) or Limpopo (97% black). It will take a massive change in perception for the DA to win elections in the other provinces.

      • The DA had some awesome wins in the last municipal election that you might like to report on. Watch some of the parliamentary sessions on YouTube and see how the tides have turned. Mmusi Miamane, the DA leader and Julius Malema is giving the ANC major migraines!

    • Come on Jonny !!!!

      If you were South African you’d very well know that the majority voting base of the ANC are fiercely loyal whether the ANC steals directly in front of their eyes. You know African mentality.

      As for the DA. It’s support base is growing each year ,but the majority of black South Africans are afraid that it’s a white party and that they might bring back apartheid even though the DA is comprised mostly by Black voters !? This is the crazy mentality we deal with each and every day.

  • The reality is many are desperate to leave but can’t without a job offer. Things have been too hard here for too long and it so, so hard for those of us left behind.

  • I’ve heard from people that apartheid was about the black Africans “taking back what was rightfully theirs” from the “evil white man”. That during this time, white people were killed for the color of their skin so that the blacks could confiscate their land and farms. Is this true? Was apartheid the violent revolution of black Africans?

  • South Africa can survive under ANC rule however today’s younger generation have hijacked the ANC and taken it in another direction. Look at the ANC Charter from the 1950’s it speaks about equality for all races. Unfortunately today’s younger generation of ANC members have seen joining the ANC as a way to gain wealth without working for it.They are corrupt and take advantage of their own black people for their own selfish ends. Any party can govern South Africa provided they have an interest in serving all South Africans. We have to get away from making assumptions on people whether they are Black, White, Coloured and Indian and realize that we are all South Africans with a common destiny. We must realize that the days of Aparthied are over so let’s make the new South Africa work and see a rainbow nation come to full fruition.

    We as South Africans must condemn all forms of racism where it comes from the left or the right White or Black. There is no room for racism in the new South Africa. Any person who speaks about South Africa’s past Aparteid policies is living in the past and they net to get on board and come up to the times. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR RACISM IN THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA.

  • As I am sitting here I have tears in my eyes. I can see the country going down the drain. Its heartbreaking to see and hear daily news of murder and rape. Its seem to be on the increase every day. Me, my wife and daughter (9) really want to emmigrate to the US but have no clue as to where to start. If anyone can maybe give me guidelines or know where a CV can be sent please let me know. Please! I have 12 years experience as n Military Intelligence Officer and my wife 15 years as an Office and Financial/Payroll Manager.

    Kind regards
    Ryno Brand

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