If you are surprised by South Africa’s apparent sudden recession, you haven’t been paying attention. Fin24 reports that the SA economy has shrunk by 1.4% in the 4th quarter of 2019. This followed a contraction of 0.8% in the 3rd quarter, effectively meaning that, for the last half of 2019, we were in a recession.
But, is anyone surprised? I don’t know anyone from any wealth strata that has not been hit by the economic woes of this country. Houses aren’t selling, developments aren’t getting funded, food prices are rising, and the lights keep going off. These aren’t the signs of a healthy economy or country.
South Africa has been in a crisis for over a decade. And it isn’t just Zuma’s fault. And no, it isn’t just the ANC’s fault either. South Africa’s woes started in 1910, when it was born. We’re just living with the culmination of this country’s bad decisions which have been made for over a century.
It should come as no real shock that South Africa is in dire straits, when the ruling party is in bed with socialist trade unions and a communist party. Socialism and communism’s track record is not up for debate. At best, it results in hyperinflation and crashed economies; at worst, it results in political purges and famine. Anyone who still subscribes to the belief that socialism and communism should be implemented, is either foolish or evil.
So, what does that make the South African government? We’ve had governments since the 20s that love playing and planning our economy as if it is a board game. The results? An Eskom that has failed inherently as a monopoly, causing our electricity to be in crisis. Job reservations for whites, culminating in the Apartheid system. Labour laws before and after ’94 that have stifled our economy to the point of paralysis.
The policies of the ANC and EFF are not new. They are the artefacts of the white socialists who put us through Apartheid. They are the policies of the Soviet Union and Cuba, that failed triumphantly again and again. People thought that the Soviet Empire was too big to fail, despite the flaws of socialism. Yet, it failed. And now, South Africa plays with the idea of removing property rights and continually pissing off capitalists. It plays with the idea of collectivism again and again and is then surprised when it gets collectivist results – recession, decline, and crisis.
The only thing that kept us afloat for so long was the effective free money of gold mining and our position as a regional hegemon in Africa. Both of those are no longer factors. We are now, finally, allowed to see reality. That South Africa has been in at least a semblance of a recession for years, if not decades.
We don’t have gold to pay for bad policies anymore. And Cold War politics isn’t around anymore to force people to be our friends. Recession is just the cherry on top of the terrible state of this country.
But, recession is the less damaging result of toying with socialist policies, as our government has been doing with expropriation, state-owned enterprises and stifling labour laws. The alternatives are much worse.
This recession has been a long time coming. In a way, I welcome the announcement. Because we’ve been living in a recession all this time. Hopefully, making it official will be a wake-up call to apathetic citizens. I doubt it will change the minds of central planning-obsessed politicians, but one can hope.
Usually, I’d stop right there on that sour note. It’s my habit to be pessimistic because I feel too many people are overly and unrealistically optimistic about South Africa. But, that positivity has been seen less and less these days, so I can afford to be a bit optimistic.
Ninety percent of respondents to the constitutional amendment to allow expropriation have opposed the amendment, coming out in support of property rights. For the people who care enough to comment, EWC is an abhorrent piece of legislation that will destroy this country. And they’re right! But, what’s positive about this is that so many people recognise this. Oftentimes, democracy destroys itself, but more and more people are growing wise to the fact that our government is the enemy and giving it more power is not a good thing.
We need more South Africans to grow sceptical of government power, to oppose socialism and communism at every turn. South Africans are growing a backbone but need to grow more of one. And, for those with a backbone, they need to ensure that they are focusing on the right thing: opposing the state and policies that are keeping us in the dark ages.
We need creative thinkers, strong activists, and a populace that simply says: “Enough!”
I think this is all possible. And, if we can achieve this, South Africa may have some hope yet.