South Africa's oblivious elite

This is the third and final instalment in a series of articles by RW Johnson reflecting on his recent book How Long Will South Africa Survive? The Looming Crisis (Jonathan Ball, Cape Town; Hurst, London).

The oblivious elite

It is far from clear that cabinet ministers fully comprehend the crisis they face. Three examples may suffice. Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs has imposed visa restrictions which will cause huge losses in income and jobs to the tourist industry. But Mr Gigaba is the same man who, as Minister for Public Enterprises, decided that no maintenance should be done on power stations in order to keep the lights on for the soccer World Cup. The damage done by this decision was so great that it is fantastic that he should still be a minister at all.

Or again, during the AU Summit held in South Africa in June 2015 Dr Nkosazana Zuma the head of the AU announced that because she wished to end the AU's dependence on Western donors, South Africa’s annual contribution to the AU was to increase almost four fold to R790 million a year. Without doubt Dr Zuma would have cleared this increase with her former husband before she made such an announcement. But it was no small thing to nod through the extra spending of over half a billion rand a year in this way.