South Africa: Future-Proof the Country - South Africa On Track to Become 'Land of Disorder and Decay'


The country's fragile democracy is under pressure. Poverty, inequality and high unemployment - augmented by an inefficient state - pose the biggest threats to South Africa's social cohesion, the lynchpin of a harmonious, democratic state. This calls for a new paradigm in the state's planning mechanisms, which are currently dominated by the fiscus.

The South African government machinery has effectively surrendered its planning powers to the National Treasury. That has created a dystopian reality in the country, where poverty, inequality and unemployment have deepened, reaching unsustainable levels. That, in turn, threatens the social fabric of a democratic South Africa.

The National Treasury's fiscal dominance, and its accompanying de facto veto powers, has long been called into question. There is broad agreement that its fiscal essentialism was solidified during the 1996 new growth framework, which remains the macroeconomic status quo in contemporary South Africa. But that is not to discount or dismiss the importance of a sound fiscus.

However, that framework hasn't been in operation without its critics. The most vocal of these was once the South African Communist Party (SACP), which for a prolonged period in its history served as the ideological conscience of the tripartite alliance.

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