14 JULY 2021 


South Africa is in a perfect storm and the focus has to stay on governance 

Scenes of chaos and orchestrated looting, concentrated in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, have rocked South Africa heavily over the last week. President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed the military to support the police service in an attempt to restore order. We are deeply grieved at the loss of life that is transpiring; at least 72 are dead with scores more injured. 1,234 people have been arrested. We call on the South African National Defence Force to show all possible restraint in the use of force. 

The video footage paints a picture of extensive violent unrest, unrestrained looting and extreme anger. The destruction of property and small businesses has led to even greater job losses in a context of radical unemployment (youth unemployment stands at 63% in the first quarter of 2021) and does not take us any closer to building the inclusive economy we need. That said, it is encouraging to see communities across the country standing up against tyranny. The chaos nonetheless expresses myriad contradictions that must be resolved if we are to see a brighter day for all.  

Poverty, unemployment and inequality continue to plague us and swell the numbers of the disenfranchised. Moreover, the current chaos will impede our vaccine rollout and testing, and place further stress on our health sector. It also increases the risk of super-spreader events, which will prove a major setback against our COVID-19 campaign. 

At Good Governance Africa, we are non-partisan, committed to non-violence and constructive dialogue. We stand for the building of inclusive institutions and forging a social contract that puts an end to poverty through policies that are fit for purpose and informed by the values enshrined in our constitution. It is in building these institutions that we will ultimately overcome the malfeasance and misgovernance that has permeated our political economy, especially at the local level.  

We must build institutions that enhance government effectiveness and empower citizens to hold the government to account. The rule of law, the separation of powers, the freedom of the media and deep adherence to the constitution are the foundations on which economic growth ultimately depends. Without these pillars of good governance, the poor, in particular, will continue to suffer.   

We expect the courts to continue to uphold the rule of law and we urge the security forces to protect lives and property effectively and with a minimum of force. We also recognise the dangers involved in political opportunism that would seek to exploit this time of turmoil in our country. We therefore call on all of those who would use this opportunity to forward their political agenda and foment further chaos to cease this activity immediately.   

Our only chance to rescue our country from this chaos and to cement our position as a stable democratic order is to both uphold the rule of law and grow the economy.  

In the weeks ahead, GGA will be releasing analyses of the root causes of the chaos; the potential impacts thereof across various economic sectors; and a regional-level assessment of the myriad forms of discontent that are erupting simultaneously in southern Africa.  

For further comment please contact info@gga.org.


+ posts