South Africa’s Fragile Economy

Africa’s biggest economy is struggling. Miner strikes weeks several ago demonstrated worker frustration with the government, followed by a trucker strike. While striking is a more common way of showing discontent in South Africa than most nations, experts in the country believe that these are not ordinary demonstrations. On the contrary it seems like this time severe unrest is building among South Africa’s citizens.

The NY Times published an article yesterday about hope fading for the lower and middle classes in the nation. It highlights how currently the rand is at a three-year low, and there have recently been hundreds of thousands of disappearing jobs. Meanwhile, the government is spending millions on the real-estate and private enterprises of the politicians who control South Africa, infuriating those suffering who the money could support. As with many big economies, one of the largest concerns for South Africa is the disappearance of the middle-class and the growing income-gap. The super-rich have been emerging from entrepreneurial opportunities and international trading, and whispers of an apartheid-like economic structure are emerging from this still raw country. Race is no longer the underlying symbol of economic division in the “new” South Africa, but the unfairness felt by the under classes is familiar all the same.
The question remaining is where is this unrest taking the nation? It’s fair to say that we haven’t yet seen the tip of this iceberg, and what will determine the future is most likely how the government responds to its citizen calls for attention and change. If nothing is done from the higher-ups, there may be serious consequences. Riots in Greece may be a carnival compared to a nation learned in revolution.

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