South Africa is on the Verge of Total Collapse… Here’s Why

A country formerly considered the ‘jewel’ of Africa due to its prosperity relative to the region and positive economic outlook is now on the verge of collapse.

Even ten years ago, South Africa was considered an ascendant power in the same league as India or Brazil. However, it has seen a near-total breakdown of its critical infrastructure and increasing civil unrest.

While the problems with infrastructure have been longstanding, they are now coming to a head as even the US embassy in South Africa has sounded the alarm for foreign nationals traveling to the country.

The government and the police have almost disappeared, the energy grid has imploded, half of the people in the country are out of work and the nation’s infrastructure has crumbled. ~HotAir

A Twitter user thoroughly listed off some of the urgent problems facing the country, which include a near-total shutdown of its railways.

His diagnosis was spot on, as The Economist recently discussed the corruption issues that led to the catastrophe.

“Another South African firm stumbling towards collapse may be even more systemically important, since it affects not just its home country but the wider region. Transnet, which runs the railways, ports and pipelines that connect sub-Saharan Africa’s most industrial economy with the outside world, is in deep trouble. Like Eskom, it was badly managed by hacks “deployed” by the ruling party and then pillaged through corrupt contracts, many signed during the era of “state capture” under Jacob Zuma, a former president. Now, weighed down by debt and with hundreds of broken locomotives, it cannot keep all of its freight trains running.”

Another well-known issue is South Africa’s faltering electrical grids.  The government has been forced to carry out a practice known as ‘load-shedding’, which can cause millions of people to lose power for hours at a time.  One Twitter user living in Africa reported that only wealthy people and large businesses were able to keep their power on during the period due to having private generators.

Unsurprisingly, corruption has been named as the main culprit for the country’s electricity issues as well.

“In light of the unsustainable stages of load shedding, key industries within South Africa’s business sectors have been preparing for a total grid collapse to keep staff safe and services running, reported the Sunday Times.

While The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) stressed that it is unlikely that a regional or national grid failure could occur, higher and longer stages of load shedding have sparked fears among industries such as the telecom, retail, mining and financial services sectors – with many executing scenario planning in case of a total grid collapse.”

The near-complete collapse in South Africa’s infrastructure has already led to increased violence and civil unrest, and some are afraid it could lead to a total collapse of the state.

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“There have been outbreaks of violence primarily directed toward refugees and other African migrants throughout South Africa. Violence could occur again at short notice, and bystanders could be caught up.” Said New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs warned that the power outages would lead to increased crime.  “For example, traffic jams due to power outages provide opportunities for smash-and-grab crime,” it said.

“Residences can be targeted when lights are out, and security systems are not functioning. Ongoing conditions have led to increased protests and demonstrations, and in some cases, civil unrest, throughout the country.” They concluded.

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