South African Riots

South Africa: General Elections 25 May 2024

I feel that these elections are a critical point in the history of our country and that we will look back at this date in retrospect as a tipping point.

I do not see things getting better, only a worsening of the social decay and rot that we have already experienced.

There will be South Africa before the coalition, and South Africa after the coalition.

South Africa: A House of Cards

I feel that we simply have too many critical problems in South Africa occurring simultaneously that each would require long-term strategic plans to address, and have very likely passed the point of being able to address them before the country collapses.

Water and Electricity Infrastructure

In terms of critical infrastructure, these include our electricity grid and our water delivery.

The graph below shows the drastic increase in the amount of downtime the South African electricity grid has experience in the period January 2019 – May 2023:

Eskom loadshedding
Loadshedding, in South Africa between January 2019 and May 2023. Source: https://michaelhoweely.com/2023/06/10/visualizing-eskom-loadshedding-data/
Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/business-opinion/681001/from-bad-to-worse-load-shedding-vs-blackout-hours-in-south-africa

This graph shows that in the first four months of 2023 the South African national electrical grid had more down time than in the previous 7 years.

Though mismanagement and lack of maintenance and corruption South Africa has excessive water waste.

Almost 40% (36.8%) of the total municipal water supplied in South Africa is lost before it reaches municipal customers, from industry to households, according to research released by the Water Research Commission (WRC) on Wednesday.

This means the government loses an estimated R7bn every year because this water loss is not billed. It also means an estimated 1,580-million cubic meters of water is lost each year in a “water-scarce” country.

Source: https://www.ru.ac.za/perspective/2013archive/nearly40ofmunicipalwaterlostenroutetocustomers.html

In addition, water infrastructure is deteriorating due to a variety of reason but poor governance is one of the main reasons.

Yet plenty of South Africans will tell you that things will get better. Just as they were saying 5 years ago. This is a theme which we will revisit.

Illiteracy, unemployment, and homelessness

Other issues South Africa is experiencing are the decreasing literacy rate, increasing homelessness, and some of the highest rates of unemployment in the world.

Declining Tax Base with increase in Tax Expenditure

We are a country of over 60 million people, approximately a third of which are of which are of ‘working age’. Yet only 7 million people pay income tax.

“South Africa has 7.1 million individual taxpayers, down from 7.4 million a year ago. The country’s registered taxpayers are declining, while government expenditure is increasing.

It is important to note that issues are all interconnected. The increase in loadshedding leads to businesses having to downsize or close entirely, which in turn increases the unemployment rate, and a decrease in the tax base.

We have an increase in tax expenditure, a crumbling infrastructure, increasing unemployment that is already some of the highest in the world. As the decay of critical infrastructure continues the burden on taxpayers will increase while the number of taxpayers continues to decrease.

Corruption

Considering that we have corruption at virtually every level of government, how can resources be effectively managed in the long term? How will resources be funneled effectively in the case of a national emergency?

Within in the police service, members of police have regularly been involved in Cash in Transit heists, rape, and murder.

There is corruption at the highest levels of government and every single state-owned enterprise has been bankrupt because of looting of funds.

Savage and Barbaric: Rape, Muti, and Murder

“Child friends aged five and six who were abducted in a park and found murdered with genitals and body parts hacked off are feared to have been kidnapped to order and mutilated BEFORE they were killed”

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12006713/Child-friends-aged-five-six-murdered-body-parts-hacked-mutilated-killing.html

In addition, South Africa has some of the highest rates of child, INFANT, and adult rape and murder in the world.

These children and infants often need several surgeries to correct their genitals that have been torn in the violent sadistic rapes.

Yes, you read that correctly infants (less than 1 years old) are raped, sometimes gang raped.

South Africa also has the problem of ritual murders where children even as young as 5 and 6 years old are dismembered WHILE ALIVE and their organs such has eyes, and genitals removed for use for “traditional medicine”.

There is also corrective rape – where lesbians will be raped in an attempt to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. There are even cases were parents paid a stranger who was HIV / AIDS positive to rape their daughter so that she is not homosexual anymore.

There have been cases where children are gang raped in front of their mother or parents, and also where the mother is gang raped in front of children as young as 9 years old.

Then there is the virgin cleansing myth among some South Africans – the uneducated and backwards belief that raping a young virgin often a child or infant, will ‘cure’ them of their HIV / AIDS.

“South African schoolchildren are so affected by crime that they play games of “rape me, rape me” and mimic robberies in the playground, according to the country’s human rights commission. In a report on school violence published yesterday, the commission said schools were the “single most common” site of crimes against children, such as robbery and assault, including rampant sexual violence, some of it by teachers.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/mar/13/southafrica.internationalcrime

“Just Vote”

Voting is not going to fix this, not in the short term.

Ideally everyone in a democracy votes. In a democracy, you benefit from the politicians  in power and you are also negatively impacted by them. In an ideal world, you would vote and if you don’t vote you would set up your own party. In a healthy democracy, there should always be someone to vote for.

Much of the political discourse is centered on short-term planning – which is necessary and important – but I feel that there is a lack of focus on the long-term problems that we are headed toward.

I believe we are a house of cards and have already passed the point in which we can keep up the “rainbow nation” facade. It will continue to slowly decay and get worse, and eventually just fall apart.

We have a situation where for more than two decades, the majority chose to vote for a party that has left the poorest citizens, and the country as a whole, worse off every election cycle, with countless unfilled promises.

Unless the majority choose to stop this the country will only get worse.

Although I am quite pessimistic, I do realise that people who have more hope are more likely to find the means to improve their lot and a despondent group that feels like giving up will be less likely to do so.

However, I also feel that a problem cannot be tackled, much like addiction, until one acknowledges how bad the problem is. If not, it will never be treated with the appropriate sense of urgency.

The voting system is broken

South Africa is experiencing a crisis of illiteracy among children. Those illiterate children will become illiterate adults and some of these will go on to vote and influence elections. What does it mean to have a democracy when there is a growing number of voters who can’t read the constitution or bill of rights?

As the voting pool increasingly takes on more and more illiterate people, the selection of sound policies and a populace that uses critical thinking, becomes a hopeful dream.

Long term in such a situation of illiteracy which is increasing AND in the context of the highest unemployment rate in the world – people vote for politicians that make empty promises and magical offers such as free houses, rather than what will be best for the country and their children.

People also tend to vote based on skin color. Whatever your race is – you vote for a party that is associated with that race instead of which party has better policies for the country, or one with a better track record.

South African parties unfortunately also have much political infighting and distrust.

But what is more serious in my opinion is that we have many long-term problems that EACH would require years or decades to address.

So, take for example the police service – how do you fix the corruption?

Replace all the officers with new ones? What about all those at the highest levels that are known to be corrupt? Who would do the hiring or selection of new officers that are not corrupt? How could we trust such a group or individuals to also not be corrupt, when even government is corrupt?

Each of these problems would require long-term strategic plans to address, and they are all happening simultaneously. At some point the house of cards will fall down.

Even if the winning party is one that puts the needs of the people first – that party would be inheriting so many simultaneous problems, none of which can be fixed in the short term.

Money and human resources will be required to address each one of the many long-term problems but the government won’t be able to focus resources on just one problem because we have several that the country will be juggling. This is a very serious problem in my opinion and the longer the current situation continues, even the ideal party would not manage because they would be overseeing every single branch of government that is corrupt and or incompetent.

Long-term problems need focus.

You can verify the apathy (and misplaced hope) of many South Africans by simply looking back in time.

Five years ago, South Africans were complaining a bemoaning one corruption scandal after the next, but they were also doing so ten years prior. They were saying the same things fifteen years ago. 

When load shedding was first implemented many of us knew that this was ominous and warned of a worsening grid for years to come. Many of us were laughed off.  

Now look at how different your life and routine are due to no electricity for 8 hours a day? Did your vote in the previous elections make a difference? Do you have more, or less, electricity now?

In South Africa one of the biggest talking points is how we have so many people who don’t vote and there is either condemnation for those who choose not to vote or attempts to persuade those who don’t vote.

 Yet they fail to understand in this misguided attempt to persuade or rebuke those who don’t vote that the make up of the voters (and who they would vote for) are not known.

You can’t assume that those not voting would vote in the direction that you would like. We could wish for all manner of things, that doesn’t make it true or any less likely to happen?

Why are the poorest in the country, who suffer the most, still voting by and large for the same party? The same party that has lied to them election after election. Why are so many apathetic and don’t vote?

To be clear, I have voted in every election cycle but I feel more and more disenfranchised with the country. I am less hopeful than I once was and only see things getting worse in the next 5-10 years.

There are countries in Africa and Asia that were ruled by tyrants and despots, but the citizens collectivized and overthrew their corrupt government.

We are still here, decades with the same government.

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